KANSAS CITY, Mo. Brayan Pena wasn't the most talented catcher to ever don a Royals uniform.
But Pena certainly was one of the more popular catchers among the fans, as well as a favorite inside the clubhouse.
"He always had a smile and so much positive energy," former teammate and still close friend Bruce Chen said.
Pena was so positive, in fact, he never envisioned a baseball life beyond the Royals. He often told reporters he planned to "retire a Royal" and that he would gladly sign a 10-year contract with the Royals "anytime."
Of course, neither of those scenarios worked out. The Royals outrighted Pena to the minor leagues last November, thus removing him from the 40-man roster. Pena chose free agency over a minor league deal.
"It was a sad day for me," Pena said. "I loved Kansas City. I loved the fans. I loved my teammates. I really thought I'd be a Royal forever.
"But I understand the game is a business. It wasn't up to me and it was out of my control."
Pena still isn't s...