Veteran catcher and impending free agent Brayan Pena told the world Wednesday afternoon that he will not be returning to the Detroit Tigers for the 2014 season. Pena shared the news via his Twitter account, taking the time to thank fans and teammates for their support after indicating that the Tigers didn't want to work out a new contract with him:
I was inform that i will not be returning to The Tigers ,i want to thanks the FANS, the ORGANIZATION & my TEAMMATES for the opportunity !!!!— Brayan Pena (@cuban2727) October 30, 2013
The Cuban backstop had hoped to return to the Tigers for a second season, but said that he's "ready to accept the new chapter" in his life and will approach his new situation with "faith and dedication."
Pena, 31, signed on with the Tigers as a free agent before the 2013 season. Because he was non-tendered the year before by the Royals while still eligible for arbitration, Detroit had to pay him only $875,000 in salary.
Pena earned his keep in his lone season in MoTown, hitting .297/.315/.397 with a career-high 68 hits and four home runs in 71 games. Among AL catchers with at least 240 plate appearances on the season, Pena's .713 OPS was just 13th-best, but it was still 20 points better than Detroit's starting catcher, Alex Avila.
The Tigers' decision to move on from Pena likely indicates that the club feels catching prospect Bryan Holaday is ready for a full season at the big-league level. Holaday, soon to be 26, got some playing time with Detroit in the second half of 2013, but spent most of the year at Triple-A Toledo. He hit .260/.312/.372 with four home runs in 80 games in his second full season with the Mud Hens.