Tony Pena back in K.C.? 

March, 24, 2007
Let me be clear about this: Anybody would be an improvement over Angel Berroa. He can't hit, he can't field, he can't run, and he doesn't even have the decency to play with a toothpick in his mouth. As I wrote earlier this week, the Royals have been hinting that Berroa's hold on shortstop is tenuous, even though he's owed $8.5 million over the next two seasons.

Well, now it's official, as today the Royals acquired Junior Pena. No, they've not made any sort of announcement regarding Berroa, but Dayton Moore says that Pena's "on the team" and that Berroa is now "competing for a job." Sure, maybe they're just trying to light a fire under Berroa's rear end, but it's a bit late in the spring for that.

Pena's sort of a joke as a major leaguer. He's 26, and this winter Baseball America didn't rate him as one of the Braves' 30 best prospects. Over six minor-league seasons he has a .285 on-base percentage, which means he might actually be worse than Berroa. Pena is reportedly a good fielder, which is a plus. But you know that old saying about shaking a tree and gloves falling out? The Royals sent a young pitcher to the Braves in exchange for Pena, when they could have just shaken their own tree. This isn't a horrible move -- the pitcher will spend this year recovering from Tommy John surgery -- but Moore seems to think that Pena's actually going to have some offensive value. Money quote: "He's a very gifted defensive player, and he keeps getting better and better offensively."

Well, no, he's not. I think Moore has a blind spot for Pena, because Pena was in the Braves' farm system and Moore used to work there. I think he's prejudiced against the guys in the Royals' own tree, because somebody else planted it. And I think I'd better stop now before I completely exhaust your patience with my lousy metaphoric skills.