Carlos Pena

     The Tampa Bay "Rays" are going to have to consider their options with a player such as Carlos Pena.   His stock has never been so high as he is coming off a career year, which doesn’t do him much justice to the exact type of year that he had.  He was unbelievable this season, and no one expected him to be, which it makes the whole situation…even more unbelievable. 

      Carlos Pena, statistically, was above average at the plate in four of the past five seasons on multiple teams consisting of Oakland, Boston, and Detroit (somewhere around average once the position is considered).  The one exception was when he was slightly below average in a short eighteen game stint with the Red Sox.  In fact, those are the only games he played in a forgetful 2006 season. 

      But out of nowhere, Pena found the stroke that GM’s everywhere thought he possessed when he was being evaluated for the draft.  Pena, to start off, posted an "Adjusted OPS" of 172, which was second in all of baseball, and his base OPS stood at 1.037 as the season concluded (third in AL).  On his way to these impressive numbers, Pena left the ballpark 46 times (2nd in the AL), drew 100 walks (3rd in AL).  Pena finished second to only Alex Rodriguez in Slugging (.621), and fifth in OBP (.411).  Pena, uncharacteristicly, had a remarkable year, finishing up as one of the best hitters in the game for the single season. 

     But this wasn’t written entirely simply to praise what could be perceived as an overachiever, or possibly a late bloomer.  Carlos Pena is going to be turning 30 less than two months after the season begins.  And of what use do the Rays have for him as his prime is winding down.  The Rays will eventually have enough talent to compete, if everything goes right, which isn’t exactly a given, as they have only won even seventy games on one occasion (1998).  So realistically, they may be competitive in 2, 3, or possibly four years.  But they also sit in a division that contains the two highest payrolls, and are going to be very difficult to overtake, and not just for the Rays…for any team. 

     With that being said, Carlos Pena is going to be outside his common prime when they even began to sniff a .500 record.  And with that being now understood, shouldn’t they consider moving him now?  At least consider it I would think.  And I am fairly certain that he is a free agent after this upcoming 2008 season.  And as everyone is aware the Rays are short on pitching.  They have some developing down on the farm, but it is not there yet. 

     One team that should be discussing Pena is the Minnesota Twins.  They desperately need to add another bat to the mix if they want to have a chance to realistically win a championship this season.  The Twins already have a very good first baseman in Justin Morneau, however they have a gaping in whole in their offense, and an opening as the DH.  Pena could fit this role rather nicely, and give them a much better chance to return to the postseason after a one year hiatus.  They have the pieces to move to get a deal done.  Cheap, young, and not fully developed pitchers, such as Garza, Baker, Slowey, Bonser, etc.  This should be considered, especially if they plan on keeping Santana and making one last run (Unless for some odd reason they can actually resign him). 

     And would I be skeptical of Pena’s out of place season last year.  Definitely a little, that is for sure.  Was it a fluke?  Was it an aberration?  A one time occurance? I do know that it will be difficult to win a ring in a stacked AL without having an additional bat in the mixture.  So I would at least consider this option, from both Minnesota and Tampa, the home of the "Rays."   


  1. PAUL

    I wouldn’t even consider trading anything of value for Carlos Pena. After one year? With Scott Boras as his agent? No way.

  2. joseph

    They have some pitchers who are projected to be back end of the rotation guys. And having Pena belt homers on a team that is going nowhere soon may not be the best option for the Rays. And Baldelli needs to go also. Gomes too I would imagine. The Boras point is a good point though, I wasn’t aware. I keep hearing Kazmir rumors and I wonder why they would consider that unless it was a package that would blow any team away. Kazmir is 23!


    joe, this is one of those situations where i’m guessing it was a PED year. i’m surprised you didn’t bring it up as a possibility. no matter though as several GMs have already stated that that basically wouldn’t bother them in the least.
    if those newly sunshine infused Rays are evn thinking of trading kazmir then they should just go ahead and take off those crisp new uniforms and disband the team. i mean, what is the point if you aren’t going to keep a 23 year old who might be the best lefty in the division ( ok bedard is) but still.

    they have the worst venue in all of professional sports. well i think paul covered all of this yesterday.

    they have no hope unless they get their front office together keep who they have, and build with all those prospects they SHOULD be signing

  4. joseph

    There is hope though, as they supposedly have the best farm in baseball. They need to move a few players of course, such as the ones mentioned above. I mean there isn’t even a spot for injury prone Baldelli now that Upton is in center, and with Young and Crawford manning the corner OF positions. They need to rid of Dukes, to anyone that will even take him. Jonny Gomes is expendable. Crawford is only 25, it feels like he is older. And they should keep him if they are willing to move some of the other pieces. Iwamura plays the same position that Evan Longoria plays, and he will be up next year, and is projected to be All Star material. Reid Brignac is supposed to be legit at SS and is will be up either next year or the year after I believe. And they have three pitchers that were ranked in the Top 100 on BA’s list posted before the season.

    As for the PED thing, I do suspect, but just felt like leaving it out. I don’t really know, so I don’t always make it an issue as I did in the Cabrera blog.

    And the Kazmir thing just doesn’t make any sense. He is too good. The kind of pitcher that a team should build around.


    i guess i shouldn’t have worded it that way…i agree there is much to hope for them…but i think they really need to keep pena as well as kazmir…i was saying that a front office that would even consider trading kasmir ought to get their priorities straight.

    baldelli might bring something; they should try and YES get rid of dukes. if even for a few dollars on a starbucks card.

    so what do you think of the sox using a six man rotation next year?

  6. joseph

    I don’t know if I like it. I don’t know enough about it either, haven’t studied the concept, etc. But really, the five man is fine. Leaving one pitcher, plus Tavarez in the pen to make spot starts, and come out of the pen. So if the Sox say, “lets let Schilling have a start off”, and then one of the other pitchers comes in and gives him a break. And someone is bound to get injured at one time or another. Also, Beckett should start as much as possible. And if Beckett misses a few starts again like last season with blister issues then bring in another guy. There won’t be much panic with all of these potential starters unless, multiple pitchers are lost to injury.

  7. joseph

    Also, about Pena…I believe it will be nearly impossible for him to have the same kind of year in 08.’ So if a team thinks highly of him and offers something legitimate then I would pull the trigger. I still think can he have a good year, he isn’t going to fall off the planet, but to duplicate this season for anyone will be too much to ask, and he isn’t Ortiz, ARod, or someone in that mold.


    on the 6 man thing; i’d say have beckett go everytime on normal rest and fill in with all the other guys ( not tavaras) . the reason i bring it up is because i’ve been thinking of what the yanks are going to do assuming we keep all three of the young guys. none of them will be ready to go 200 innings so if we manage to get pettitte back we could go with a 6 man rotation as well.
    gotta protect those arms…

    i don’t know how many inning they can expect from lester, but buccholtz won’t go over 140 , will he?

    unless you got a really good arm, i’d keep pena. who knows, maybe he’s turned a corner in his career and will have a few years of this kind of production.

  9. joseph

    But a few years, as in 08 and 09 may not even be all that relevant if the Devil Rays don’t have pitching. And they are in a division where the top two teams have much more money and who have young pitching too.

    Buchholz threw 147 innings last season, but he fatigued. So I don’t know what they have in mind for him.

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