SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The Texas Rangers traded catcher Matt Treanor to the Kansas City Royals for cash considerations Monday, giving them the roster flexibility to keep eight relievers to start the season.
"It's tough to leave that group of guys," Treanor said. "We had a good group and did some great things last year. I should probably stop saying 'We,' now that I'm a Royal."
The move also means more time for Mike Napoli, who came into camp as the third catcher, but someone who was mainly going to get at-bats at first base against lefties. The Rangers signed Yorvit Torrealba to a two-year deal during the offseason to be the team's top catcher.
By trading the 35-year-old Treanor, the Rangers can keep three of the four remaining bullpen candidates in camp -- Mason Tobin, Brett Tomko, Mark Lowe and Pedro Strop -- as they try to fill the starting spot vacated by Tommy Hunter, who strained his groin last week.
The club is leaning toward moving Alexi Ogando to the starting rotation, but that leaves a hole in the eighth inning. They could now keep more options available to them in that role.
Treanor, the husband of two-time Olympic gold medal-winning beach volleyball player Misty May-Treanor, established career highs for games (82), at-bats (237), runs (22), hits (50), homers (5), RBIs (27), and walks (22) in 2010. He also was the primary catcher for C.J. Wilson -- the Rangers' Opening Day starter -- for much of the season, including the playoffs, and hit a home run in the ALCS.
"It was a tough call because Matt is universally loved around here," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He had some huge hits for us and handled the staff well, was like another coach out there. But he was also a great makeup guy."
Treanor batted .273 with one home run and four RBIs in 11 Cactus League games for the Rangers this spring. He was acquired last March in a trade with Milwaukee to give the club catching depth.
He said he was told the Royals want him for his experience.
"It's a new chapter," Treanor said. "I'm excited to get going."
Richard Durrett covers the Texas Rangers for ESPNDallas.com.