The KC Royals announced a few minor league signings late this week. One of which was a returnee.
Catcher Manny Pina, who was outrighted to Triple-A Omaha and elected free agency, decided to re-sign with the Royals. This past season after recovering from a knee injury, he hit .260 in 43 games with Double-A NW Arkansas. He was called up in September to the big leagues, but only got into one game.
The other two signings were newbies to the organization.
First baseman Ian Gac has been playing professional baseball for ten years, but has yet to reach the big leagues. I had a chance to see him play for High-A Winston-Salem in 2011 (Chicago White Sox), when he was the Carolina League Player of the Year. He hit .279 with 33 homeruns and 96 RBIs.
Gac struggled with a new organization in 2012, as he hit just .247 with seven homeruns and 35 RBIs in 75 games with Double-A Mississippi (Atlanta). I expect Gac will repeat Double-A in 2013. His signing does hurt the re-signing of Matt Fields, as the Royals now have at least three first baseman for two higher level minor league spots.
The other signing was of left fielder Luis Durango, who has some big league time. He was with Triple-A Gwinnett in 2012 (Atlanta) and hit 289 in 132 games. He led the International League in stolen bases with 46.
Durango is expected to participate in the World Baseball Classic Qualifiers for Panama (where he played in 2009). He is currently playing in the Venezuelan Winter League for Caribes (.324 with five stolen bases in 21 games).