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White Sox pick up reliever Pena from Diamondbacks

Jul 7, 2009, 8:42 PM EDT

So much for that idea
of Brandon Allen being sent to the Blue Jays in a Roy Halladay trade.
The White Sox just used him to bolster their bullpen with the
acquisition of Tony Pena from the Diamondbacks.

Pena, once known as Adriano Rosario, was considered a future closer
for Arizona when he debuted in 2006, but his stuff had only
occasionally translated into the expected results. After a strong 2007
in which he had a 3.27 ERA and 30 holds, he was overlooked in favor of
Brandon Lyon for the closer’s role in 2008. He was later passed by Chad
Qualls, so he remained a setup man this year with Lyon gone. He did
well in that role early on, amassing a 1.85 ERA through the end of May,
but he had given up 15 runs — 13 earned — in his last 15 appearances,
leaving him at 4.24 for the year. Pena makes barely more than the
minimum now and is under control through 2012, so this isn’t just a
trade for this year.

Pena still seemed like a possibility to close for the Diamondbacks with
Qualls likely to attract suitors before the deadline. With the White
Sox, it’s highly unlikely that he’ll ever get that opportunity. Bobby
Jenks, Scott Linebrink, Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton are all ahead
of him on the depth chart. Fantasy leaguers should now be looking at
Jon Rauch as a possible sleeper for saves.

Allen gives the Diamondbacks something they didn’t have in their
system: a possible first baseman of the future. The 23-year-old hit
.290/.372/.452 with seven homers in 241 at-bats for Double-A Birmingham
to begin the year. Since a promotion to Triple-A last month, he was at
.262/.262/.377 with no walks in 61 at-bats. He’s a potential 25-homer
guy, and he’s shown better on-base ability with every move up the
ladder, at least until a couple of weeks ago. He’s probably not going
to be a regular to begin 2010, but the move suggests that the
Diamondbacks aren’t interested in turning either Mark Reynolds or Conor
Jackson into a full-time first baseman going forward.

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