In their continuing quest to find more rest for catcher Salvador Perez, the Royals have acquired Tony Cruz, the long-time backup to Yadier Molina in St. Louis, in exchange for minor-league infielder Jose Martinez.
Cruz, 29, hit .204 with a .545 on-base plus slugging percentage for the Cardinals in 2015. The Royals could consider him an upgrade over Drew Butera, who appeared in 45 games after the team acquired him last May.
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To make space on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated catcher Francisco Peña for assignment. Peña, the son of former Royals manager Tony Peña, hit 27 homers in Class AAA Omaha last season, but saw that total shrink to 13 in 2015. Later Wednesday, Peña was traded to Baltimore for cash considerations.
Both Butera and Cruz are eligible for arbitration. Cruz became available after the Cardinals signed former Royal Brayan Peña to a two-year contract. The deadline to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players is 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
Martinez, a 19-year-old middle infielder, posted a .604 OPS for Class A Burlington and Class A Idaho Falls. He should not be confused with outfielder Jose Martinez, who hit .384 for Class AAA Omaha last season.