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Carlos Pena is on the Yankees’ radar

Jan 14, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

carlos pena ap AP

Fact: the Yankees have a radar. It’s a bistatic radar, adapted from Soviet-era surface-to-air missile systems.  Most teams are still using monostatic radar making them far less lethal forces than are the Yankees. It’s a little known fact but one we baseball insiders are all hip to. Stick with me and I’ll drop all kinds of that sort of knowledge on you.

Anyway, Jon Heyman knows about it too — it’s the sort of thing we discuss during our bi-monthly summit meetings — and he says that the Yankees’ radar has Carlos Pena on it.

It would make perfect sense. With Montero and Jorge Posada out of the picture there are suddenly a ton of DH at-bats to be had in the Bronx. Some of them will be available for Alex Rodriguez, whose increasing fragility calls for a little less time in the field. But it’s not like A-Rod is going to be there full time because the Yanks gotta have someone play third base. If you get Pena he can live there most of the time, and then slide over to first base for Mark Teixeira off-days — or occasionally to the bench — allowing A-Rod to DH.

If they do snag Pena in the short term is will be the third significant the Yankees have made in the space of a couple of days, essentially doing all of their offseason work in one weekend.  Which is pretty spiffy.

  1. Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:16 AM

    Yes please. Andruw and Pena platoon? That’ll work

    • raysfan1 - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:52 PM

      call it the Mendoza platoon

  2. rsnorth - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:43 AM

    Craig, how can Pena play third base? He’s left-handed!

    • paperlions - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:22 PM

      Why all the thumbs down? He right. Besides the fact that Pena probably couldn’t physically play the position, throws from 3B are far more difficult for a lefty, and every play to his right is a backhand….there are reasons there are no left-handed third basemen.

    • rooney24 - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      Who said Pena was playing 3rd? He won’t be playing 3rd.

      • paperlions - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:51 PM

        Not sure….but this text is pretty confusing, at least one unclear object of a pronoun: “a ton of DH at-bats to be had in the Bronx. Some of them will be available for Alex Rodriguez, whose increasing fragility calls for a little less time in the field. But it’s not like A-Rod is going to be there full time because the Yanks gotta have someone play third base. If you get Pena he can live there most of the time, and then slide over to first base for Mark Teixeira off-days — or occasionally to the bench — allowing A-Rod to DH.”

        “he” who? ARod? Pena? Just a horrible jumble in that sentence.

      • wlschneider09 - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:17 PM

        I think it was pretty obvious that the key “there” (“If you get Pena he {Pena} can live there {DH} most of the time”) referred to the DH position, especially considering that Pena has never played anywhere but 1B. Nunez would spell A-rod at 3rd.

      • paperlions - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:04 PM

        As someone that writes for a living, I can tell you that it is not obvious based on the sentence structure. A comma between Pena and he would have helped somewhat, but the only “there” that “there” could be referring to grammatically is 3B…there is no “DH” within two sentence of that “there”. And it is not clear that the he is reflexive and not referring to ARod, there is a crap-ton of unclear antecedentness going on in that paragraph. It’s a thing of horror.

      • crisisjunky - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        no, WHO is on first, and I DON’T KNOW is on third.
        That leaves only the DH slot for Pena.

        oh, and of course, I DON’T GIVE A DAMN is at shortstop.

  3. proudlycanadian - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:44 AM

    Radar Love had a nice beat when it was on the hit parade. Of course the band Golden Earring would not pass the Yankee Dress Code.

    • foreverchipper10 - Jan 16, 2012 at 12:28 PM

      Now I know what will be in my head all day. Thanks.

  4. pisano - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    This guy strikes out way too much and hits for a low average. If you combine him with Andruw Jones, and add in Arod, Tex, Granderson, and Swisher that’s one hell of a lot of strike outs in one line up. Granted that’s a lot of power also, but I can see a lot of runners left on base.

    • Kevin S. - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:00 PM

      Ground outs and pop outs leave runners on base too, you know.

  5. garryfish - Jan 14, 2012 at 9:56 AM

    Rsnorth, that is why they are also going to sign Eric. Chavez.

    • rsnorth - Jan 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM

      Correct GFish re Chavez. I just found it strange that Calc was saying Pena could play third.

  6. rickset - Jan 14, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    If Pena doesn’t work out, I think they might bring Johnny Damon back on a one year deal.

    • stinkinfish - Jan 15, 2012 at 8:24 AM

      to back up martin behind the plate right?

  7. hammyofdoom - Jan 14, 2012 at 11:06 AM

    Honestly Carlos Pena for a reasonably cheap price would be a steal for the yankees. Like someone said, Andruw Jones and Carlos Pena platoon would be extremely potent for them. Over the past 3 years Pena’s OPS against lefties is .704; righties .862 and as for Jones his lefty/righty OPS spit is .866 and .775 respectively. It’d be perfect, but I know Pena is still a good glove so I’m not too sure how he’d feel DHing, but if both guys go along with it… it’d be great for the yanks.

    • drewzducks - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM

      Makes no sense for Pena who’s only 33/34. Guy is a good hitter but an outstanding 1B. Can’t see him being content playing 10 games a year in the field as Tex is clearly no slouch in the field.

      • hammyofdoom - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        Yeah I really wouldn’t blame him if he didnt want to DH, but honestly being paid to DH for one year with a very good chance to win a championship with the Yankees have been enough for people in the past to change roles

      • cur68 - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:44 PM

        Given Tex’s history of injuries (hammy related last season if memory serves) its a given he’ll be down at least once or twice in the season for a month or more. Pena as insurance is a great idea.

  8. dirtyharry1971 - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    I liked the trade the pulled off yesterday but i dont want Pena anywhere near this team. I dont care about his power, his average and strikeout rates are pathetic, id rather have Vlad for this role

    • Kevin S. - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:03 PM

      It’s almost like he doesn’t compensate for that by walking like a madman, or something.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:03 PM

      his average and strikeout rates are pathetic

      Curtis Granderson struck out more times than Pena last year, and Granderson was a MVP candidate. Also, Pena walked more than every other yankee last year, in 30 fewer PAs.

      But yeah, keep evaluating people on BA as if there aren’t a dozen more useful measurements out there.

      • 78mu - Jan 14, 2012 at 8:26 PM

        People tend to undervalue strikeouts for pitchers and overvalue them for hitters. Unless your name is Albert Pujols or Barry Bonds and you only strike out one every three games or so you are going to have a lot of strikeouts with any power hitter.

        Pena gives you about a strikeout per game. Look at Jim Thome – about a strikeout a game. Or McGwire. Lot’s of SOs there. I’ll gladly take a few more strikeouts for more power.

  9. woodsmeister - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Great – and now we know why he hasn’t signed with the Indians yet – he’s clearly using them to drive up the price for the Yankees.

    • pisano - Jan 14, 2012 at 12:58 PM

      dirtyharry1971… at least someone other than myself sees this guy as a strike out machine, and his ave. IS pathetic. He’s good in the field, but I’d be afraid of him and Jones platooning at DH, again too many strikeouts to go along with the fest of that team that strikeout a lot.

      • Kevin S. - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:18 PM

        I really don’t understand your obsession with strikeouts and the claim that the Yankees do it too much. Their offense has been 18th, 20th and 29th in K% the past three seasons. Oh, and their batting average hasn’t always been at the top of the league, but they’re consistently at the top in runs because they’re consistently at the top in OBP (and SLG). You’re condemning Pena as a hitter by using two metrics that haven’t meant that much to the Yanks run-scoring prowess in recent years while ignoring the fact that he’s awesome at the things they have successfully targeted.

  10. pisano - Jan 14, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Kevin… The stats prove me wrong, but I just wish there would be a little more contact and a lot less of the K’s. So many times they seem to leave runners in scoring position and the K is usually the culprit. I know this comes with power hitters but I hope there’s a little more contact and less K’s. That being said, I can’t wait for spring training.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 14, 2012 at 3:11 PM

      So many times they seem to leave runners in scoring position and the K is usually the culprit

      This is called confirmation bias. You think they do one thing, and when it happens, you say, “see, I told you so.” Problem is you forget all the other times it doesn’t happen. For instance we have this post* from riveraveblues.com. I won’t copy paste the chart b/c it’ll format fail. But we get:

      Men on
      OBP – tied for 2nd
      SLG – 3rd
      tOPS+ – 5th
      sOPS+ – 2nd

      RISP
      OBP – 1st
      SLG – 1st
      tOPS+ – tied for 3rd
      sOPS+ – first

      So with runners in scoring position, the Yanks had the highest OBP, the highest SLG, and the highest OPS+ relative to the league(!). According to Larry Koestler, who wrote the article:
      Fortunately the 2011 team put the 2010 Yankees to shame when it came to hitting with both men on and runners in scoring position, posting five-year highs in both tOPS+ and sOPS+ in both splits.

      http://riveraveblues.com/2011/11/dispelling-the-risp-fail-myth-58508/

  11. md23rewlz - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:12 PM

    The Yankees are always in the top three (or thereabouts) of offense, despite the strikeouts. Strange how the things don’t seem to correlate whatsoever, eh? Signing Pena would be a great move for multiple reasons. You’ll be getting him on a cheap contract, and he’s the perfect player for that short porch. I don’t see any downside to it if they sign him.

  12. pisano - Jan 14, 2012 at 4:34 PM

    I stand corrected.

  13. damnyankee13 - Jan 15, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    dont we have any good 3rd basemen in the minors that are ready to come up? then put Arod as dh

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