Well, an era in Royals baseball is finished. Tony Pena Jr. has officially been designated for assignment* by the Royals.
*This means that Pena will be put through waivers. If none of the other 29 teams in the MLB want to claim the rights to Pena's contract, then he will decide whether to accept his assignment to either AA NW Arkansas or AAA Omaha or become a free agent.
TJ's career with the Royals started out incredibly promising, as he hit two triples in his Royals debut against the Red Sox on Opening Day in 2007. He finished the year batting .267 and was gaining comparisons to great shortstops like Ozzie Smith on the defensive side of his game. Dayton Moore looked like a genius with the move, acquiring him from the Atlanta Braves (go figure).
2008 began the notorious rise of Pena in a Royals uniform. He started as the Royals Opening Day shortstop, and provided the go ahead single against Detroit in extra innings on Opening Day. But after that, much didnt go right for TJ.
Finally, the Royals decided enough was enough with TPJ and called up Mike Aviles to replace him. Aviles hit .325 that year and the rest as they say, is history.
Later on in '08, the Royals staged probably their most infamous giveaway: a Tony Pena Jr. bobblehead doll. Sellout crowds usually attend these games and lineup hours before the gates open to ensure that they get the collectible. A crowd of less than 16,000 was announced and there were stories of people actually declining to take the doll.
Tony made a brief relief appearance for the Royals in July of 2008. In the late innings of a July 21st game against Detroit, in which the Royals were being blown out by the Tigers, Tony Pena came into the game and got 2 quick outs. He completed the perfect inning by baffling future Hall of Famer, Ivan Rodriguez.
After that, there really isn't much to talk about. Tony Pena Jr. has gone down as the worst offensive player in Royals history and will live on far past these horrendous years of Royals baseball (if they ever come to an end).
That being said, here is what I think the Royals should do. If Tony Jr. is not claimed off waivers (rumor has it that 21 teams have filed paperwork to claim him. SUCKERS!), the Royals should place him in AA and have him start working on pitching mechanics. It may have been a small sample size, but TJ looked very impressive in that small sample size. He has a 90+ mph fastball with cut on it, and a pretty wicked breaking ball in the mid 70s. Try it. If it fails, then what have we lost?