Lerud, 25, has been in the Pirates organization since being taken in the fourth round of the 2003 First-Year Player Draft. In six Minor League seasons, he has a .228 average with 42 home runs and 224 RBIs in 519 games. He has not played above Double-A.
Last season with Double-A Altoona, the left-handed-hitting Lerud batted .240 with four homers and 26 RBIs in 95 games. Defensively, he threw out 37 of 136 would-be base-stealers (27 percent), with 15 passed balls and six errors.
Lerud, out of Galena High School in Reno, Nev., is the second catcher from outside the organization signed by the Royals, joining Edwin Bellorin. The Royals also have re-signed catchers Vance Wilson and Cody Clark to Minor League deals.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.