We don't know if the Royals will be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline next week - a lot of that probably has to do with how they fare against the Indians this week, but they do have a 24-year-old catcher in Triple-A Omaha who is having a career year they could move.
Francisco Pena, who has never hit more than nine home runs in a season, already has 20 this season for Omaha (seven of which have come in July, and he has hit nine in his last 20 games). The 2014 Triple-A All-Star and Home Run Derby finalist is hitting .253/.303/.559 this season after hitting .238/.288/.369 in his eight-year minor-league career.
[Pena in action at the 2014 Home Run Derby in Durham, North Carolina]:
He's also thrown out 42.4% (28-of-66) of the runners who have attempted to steal against him this season.
Omaha radio broadcaster, Mark Nasser, was a guest on The Drive AM 590 ESPN radio on Thursday, talking Omaha Storm Chasers baseball, and he wondered about the possibility of the Royals moving Pena as the trade deadline approaches.
"He's on pace for 27 [home runs this season], so he would triple his career high," Nasser said. "He just says that he feels good up at the plate. He's just swinging the bat with a lot of confidence right now, and, you know, power is becoming - especially in this post PED era - a very precious commodity.
"To have a catcher - if not for the Kansas City Royals, because obviously they have a terrific catcher in Salvador Perez, but maybe Francisco Pena is that trade bait. We'll see. Right now they are very pleased [with him]. He's been one of the pleasant surprises this year as far as the Storm Chasers and their lineup is concerned."