Will be the backup to Molina the next two years
He is a quality defensive catcher, certainly not Molina's equivalent, but this provides us some stability behind Molina that Cruz just can't give us.
I'm glad they made this a priority. I wanted Alex Avila, but I can imagine he is holding out for a starting job still.
Pena isn't much offensively as most catchers aren't. He is an inpatient slap hitter who has a decent line drive rate. Won't give you much power, but might run into the occasional home run.
This is such a difficult issue, having depth behind Molina. It's the only position on the diamond where quality depth can't be used from elsewhere. It's not like you can sign a quality backup middle infielder that can expect to get a lot of starts....if Molina is healthy, he's playing, and that means the guy you signed has to be okay with that. Which really limits what you can go after.
If Molina were to miss a significant amount of time, the team probably wouldn't want Pena being the everyday catcher, but they could survive with him being there. The last two years, he got a good amount of chances for the Reds with Mesoraco's injuries, and he continued to do what he is. An 80 wRC+ hitting catcher that will give you good defense.
I'm just glad they addressed this area of weakness. Now you can breath a little easier going into the season. If Molina were to have a major injury, then they may look to address with another catcher, but Pena can certainly relinquish this burden some.
I approve of the move.