In need of a backup to Yadier Molina after veteran Gary Bennett became a free agent after two years with the team, the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday signed free agent catcher Jason LaRue to a one-year contract reportedly worth $850,000.
The Cardinals also signed right-handed pitchers Dewon Brazelton and John Wasdin to minor league contracts. Brazelton, a former first-round draft choice and third overall pick by Tampa Bay, last played in the majors in 2006 when he was 0-2 with a 12.00 ERA in nine games for San Diego. He spent last season with Class-AAA Omaha in the Royals’ organization and Class-AA Altoona in the Pirates’ farm system. Wasdin, Oakland’s first-round pick in 1993, broke camp with the Pirates last year, but his season ended in late July because of a wrist injury. He has also pitched for the Rangers, A’s, Red Sox, Rockies, Orioles, and Blue Jays.
LaRue, a career .233 hitter with 88 homers and 316 RBIs, spent his first eight seasons with the Reds before being traded to the Royals prior to last season. In 66 games with K.C., LaRue hit .148 with four homers and 13 RBIs and threw out 33 percent of would-be base stealers, seventh among catchers with at least 50 starts. His new contract reportedly includes a $50,000 bonus for 40 starts, and $100,000 each for 50, 60 and 65 starts in addition to the $850,000 base salary.
The other team that was active Monday was the Brewers, who purchased the contracts of minor leaguers RHP Tim Dillard, IF Alcides Escobar, C Lou Palmisano, and RHP Luis Pena and added them to their 40-man roster.
Thou shalt not confuse this Luis Pena, born 1/10/83, with the Luis Pena born 1/21/81 who pitched in the Padres and White Sox organizations from 2002-2005. This Luis Pena has been in the Brewers’ farm system since 2001, appearing in 155 minor league games during that time span.