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Wily Mo Pena signs two-year deal with Japanese team

Dec 2, 2011, 11:19 AM EDT

wily mo pena headshot ap AP

Wily Mo Pena’s comeback attempt never quite took hold, as he totaled just 120 plate appearances for the Mariners and Diamondbacks, and now the flawed but powerful 29-year-old has agreed to a two-year contract to play in Japan for the Softbank Hawks.

Earlier this week reports pegged Pena’s contract as being worth around $5 million, so it’s tough to blame him for choosing Japan over trying to stick in American long enough to make $500,000 or so in a season.

Pena has never lost his 30-homer power, going deep seven times in just 113 at-bats this year, but his complete lack of plate discipline and defensive ability have held him back since initial success from 2004-2006.

Softbank are the reigning Japanese champions and it wouldn’t be surprising if Pena puts up some monster numbers. He hit .250 with 84 homers and a .748 OPS in 599 games as a major leaguer, averaging 25 homers per 500 at-bats.

  1. baseballisboring - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    That’s 25 HR per 500 AB against major league pitching, while not really being a MLB caliber hitter. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him become a monster in Japan with the raw power he has.

  2. JBerardi - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    “Awesome” might be the most overused and de-valued word in the english language (or the American language, I suppose), but Willy Mo is awesome in the truest and most literal sense of the word. He inspires awe. I hope to see many a YouTube video of him inspiring it Japan.

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Dec 2, 2011 at 11:48 AM

    He’s got to be the largest player on a Japanese team since Kevin Mitchell. I hope you enjoy plenty of success over there, Wily! I feel like you never really got your full chance here.

    • cur68 - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:07 PM

      ^This.

      Keeping guys who can’t hit or field around seems to be the way of the new CBA. WMP can at least hit the ball a mile when he does hit it. The list of guys on MLB rosters I’d rather watch less than WMP is so long it’d take me an hour to get them all written down. Suffice to day Adam Dunn leads off.

  4. scapistron - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    I hope someone in Japan does the same thing Hittracker does here.

    http://www.hittrackeronline.com/detail.php?id=2011_3445&type=hitter

    I still remember Wily putting a broken bat ball off the top of the Monster.

  5. mmason0071 - Dec 2, 2011 at 12:48 PM

    My poor Mariners. First Adam Kennedy goes to LA, and now Willy Mo leaves. All our offensive superstars are gone!

  6. mashoaf - Dec 2, 2011 at 8:50 PM

    I hope he watches some Mr. Baseball before he heads over.

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