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Rays sign Carlos Pena to one-year, $7.25 million deal

Jan 20, 2012, 12:10 PM EDT

carlos pena ap AP

UPDATE: Jon Heyman of says Pena to the Rays is now a done deal and he’ll get $7.25 million.


Tampa Bay signed Luke Scott last week, but apparently the Rays aren’t done adding veteran left-handed bats.

Tim Brown of Yahoo! Sports reports that the Rays are “pretty deep” in talks with Carlos Pena, who would step into middle of the lineup as their starting first baseman.

Pena had the best run of his career in Tampa Bay from 2006-2010, with back-to-back top-10 MVP finishes, three straight 100-RBI seasons, and a total of 144 homers in four years. He slumped to a .197 batting average (and 28 homers) in 2010 before leaving the Rays to sign a one-year, $10 million deal with the Cubs as a free agent.

Pena is often criticized for his low batting averages and high strikeout totals, but he’s topped an .800 OPS in four of the past five seasons while averaging 34 homers and 95 walks per year. On a modest one-year deal he’d be a very solid pickup for a team that can certainly use more offensive firepower to go along with their stacked pitching depth.

  1. paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    But are they “realizing traction”?

  2. uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    That’s obviously a knee jerk reaction to the Red Sox signing Vicente Padilla.

    The Rays now feel threatened by the Red Sox pitching staff additions this winter. So they are going to sign someone to make the Red Sox jealous and sorry they signed Adrian Gonzalez.

    • bigharold - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      The Rs are already sorry they signed Matsuzaka, Lacky and Crawford, .. can being sorry about Gonzalez be far behind?

  3. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    I hope they’re not “In Too Deep”, a la Phil Collins.

  4. randygnyc - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:25 AM

    2 years for 28 million. Pay the man!!!!!!! (you owe it to him)

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:43 PM

      Your prediction was *this* close.

  5. cidminion - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:50 AM

    Some real good comments so far..

    • b7p19 - Jan 20, 2012 at 11:52 AM

      and another one

  6. uyf1950 - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:16 PM

    I’d say they are in pretty deep, $7.25MM deep.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM

      Talk about a full thrust in to him.

  7. APBA Guy - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:18 PM

    The Rays do need more offense. And Pena is in the same general defensive category as Kotchman was. The problem, which is well documented, is Pena’s monumental struggles against lefties (.892 OPS v RH, .592 vs LH). The obvious solution is to platoon him. In the NL that was tougher because of the need to pinch-hit for the pitcher, but in the AL, if the Rays don’t carry the extra reliever, it could work just fine. He’s in his age 33 year, so one day of rest in 4 might benefit him.

    • papacrick - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:45 PM

      Platoon players shouldn’t be earning north of 7m per season

      • paperlions - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:08 PM

        Ryan Howard disagrees. :-)

      • baseballisboring - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:29 PM


        But anyway…If he were a RHB with no defensive value I’d agree…but he’s a lefty, so he’s gonna get more PAs than whoever his RH counterpart ends up being, plus he’s a good 1B. Good deal for the Rays.

  8. proudlycanadian - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    Luke Scott wants to see Pena’s birth certificate.

    • CJ - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      So do I…are we sure this is his REAL name?

      • proudlycanadian - Jan 20, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        Are we sure that Luke Scott is also real and isn’t hiding a Cuban or African ancestor?

  9. felser - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    Pena is a class act and was very very popular in Tampa Bay, so this is a nice day for Rays fans. And he’s a good player, as noted.

  10. foreverchipper10 - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:33 PM

    Welcome back Carlos. Welcome back, welcome back welcome ba-aaaack.

    • hittfamily - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:35 PM

      Up your nose with a rubber hose.

  11. Kyle - Jan 20, 2012 at 12:36 PM

    Great move by the Rays.

  12. Tribe&Browns&Cavs - Jan 20, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Dang. As stupid as I know it was, I was really hoping the Tribe would sign him for a year.

  13. kingjoe1 - Jan 20, 2012 at 6:49 PM

    Oh yes cubbies fans who LOVE Pena, he is gone and you should be thankful. He got only slightly more than he worth. should have been 1 yr 5, but 1 yr 7.25 might include incentive.

    As for the inflated averages above. it is ridiculous to look back over 5 years for a guy at 33. You have to look at where is now not at his prime years. The last 3 have been just awful, with only his HR’s even coming close to not being embarrasing.

  14. effjohntaylornorelation - Jan 20, 2012 at 7:04 PM

    What a waste of money. On a nationally syndicated sports radio show today I heard this question “what team has been made better by bringing back a discarded former player?”. None, ever. Opposingmpitchers have to be licking their chops!

  15. irish412 - Jan 22, 2012 at 8:25 AM

    Clearly, Scott Hatterberg would have been a better choice at 1st base. Remember, he gets on base.

    • thefalcon123 - Jan 24, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      Well, Hatteberg was a 2.7 WAR player in 2002 and got paid just $900,000. Which was why the book was called “Moneyball” and not “The A’s Don’t Like Talented Players Because Billy Beane Enjoys Being Different”.

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