Discussion: Carlos Pena

As the 2009-2010 offseason draws to a close, Hot Stove junkies are already looking ahead to next offseason's free agent market. One of the biggest names slated to hit the market is Carl Crawford of Tampa Bay, but he's not the only big name Ray scheduled to become a free agent. Carlos Pena, the team's first baseman since signing a minor league deal back in 2007, will also hit the open market.

The 31-year-old Pena will earn $10.125MM in 2010 as part of the three-year deal he signed back in 2008, making him the highest paid player on the team. Tampa's payroll is slated to drop below the $60MM mark in 2011, which makes it unlikely that Pena will be back in a Rays' uniform next season. The team that loses out on a potential Adrian Gonzalez bidding war could turn to Pena, who provides similar qualities as a patient (.382 OBP over the last three years), power bat (.553 SLG) from the left side with solid defense (+1.3 UZR) at first. 

What do MLBTR's readers think is in store for Pena this season? Will Tampa Bay make him available if they fall out of the race? Or perhaps trade him even if they are in it just to get something in return as opposed to letting him walk as a free agent? What kind of contract could he be looking at after the season?

63 Responses to Discussion: Carlos Pena Leave a Reply

  1. bjsguess 5 years ago

    If they are in it then no, he stays. If they are 5+ games out by the All-Star break then he gets moved.

    The problem is that there are lots of options for 1B/DH. While Pena certainly is an upgrade over virtually all those options, I don’t know if teams will pay top dollar for a few months of a power bat.

    • Glove Affair 5 years ago

      A power bat, an energizing presence in the clubhouse….and of course, a whole bunch of strikeouts!

      • JaY_Patel 5 years ago

        Only one team comes to mind that needs POWER….Giants but his power might decrease at AT&T park. Man i Hate are park for being a pitching ball park

      • Ferrariman 5 years ago

        Jason giambi?

  2. Ferrariman 5 years ago

    Crawford is overrated.. A lifetime .335 obp doesn’t scream front of the lineup player that he will be for the yankees in 2011. Though his speed is good.

    The turf he plays on has gotta catch up with his speed/defense eventually.

    I’m gonna say pena is a mariner by deadline IF the rays aren’t in contention. Otherwise the rays will just take their 2 DP’s next year.

    • Will they risk offering him arbitration though? If he accepts, that’s a ton of money they’d have to assume.

      • PRKnight 5 years ago

        i agree with you its a major risk offering arb now a days with players not getting what they think their worth. But if i got to say anything about it is that he doesn’t get traded and leaves at the end of the year. Im guessing to the Mets cuz he plays good D, he’s a power bat which they need and he’s Spanish so that fits in too, maybe 3/34 mil.

        • Ferrariman 5 years ago

          You forget his agent is boras and him taking arb just makes him 1 year older and that much less attractive when he does hit FA

        • how does him being spanish have to do with anything? mets have ike davis, he will be ready by 2011. they don’t need him.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      Actully I disagree. If he becomes a Yankee, his power numbers will increase but regardless of his power…He is a solid hitter who steals bases and and is simply, a threat. He is a grinder bigtime.

  3. TVReviewsion 5 years ago

    I could see the M’s acquiring either him or Crawford (or both!) at the deadline if they (the M’s) are in contention and the Rays arn’t.

    • iwishihadaclue 5 years ago

      Both players? One I can see but BOTH?

      • TVReviewsion 5 years ago

        Not likely. But still possible if they give up a lot.

        • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

          After the M’s dealing practically their entire farm and young players to the Jays and Phillies, what could they possibly give up to acquire both players?

          • BLB25 5 years ago


          • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

            Yeah, but Z won’t trade Ackley for Pena & Crawford, hence me not mentioning him.

          • BLB25 5 years ago


          • How did the M’s empty their farm? They gave up three “ok” prospects to Philly and only traded Morrow to Toronto??

  4. vtadave 5 years ago


    Pena – No
    Soriano – No
    Crawford – An easy yes. You think a team would hesitate to give up a 1st or 2nd round pick for Carl Crawford?

    As for his OBP – .364 last year and about .350 over the past four seasons, with 2008 looking like an outlier.

    • Guest 5 years ago

      They have to offer Pena arb.

      • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

        You would figure that if Pena has similar power seasons in 2010 as ’09 and ’08 he would easily be a type-A free agent.

  5. jrodhard 5 years ago

    this will be pena’s age 32 season. which means anytime that signs him would be taking him from age 33 on. I can’t see him getting more than a 2 year deal from an NL team and maybe a 3 year deal from an AL team since he could DH in hs age 36 season if his defensive skills diminish. The Yankees are out with Texiera signed long term. Eliminate most of the small market teams (Oakland, KC, Cleveland, Toronto, Baltimore and a few others). I just don’t see a huge market for him based on his age and what salary he will likely demand.

    Whatever happens, Pena should leap at the first offer of 3 years plus he gets so he doesn’t end up like Johnny Damon…

    • The Mythical One 5 years ago

      If you think the Orioles won’t be looking at a guy like Carlos Pena then you’d be silly. The heir apparent is Brandon Snyder who is a converted C who has had shoulder injuries and leg injuries in the past and though his bat has hit for high averages in the past, he’s never shown much power and his numbers took a dive at AAA last season. Since the O’s aren’t going to want to part with the young talent that it would take to pry away Adrian Gonzalez, I am sure they’d be interested in Carlos Pena as a FA. The current payroll is around $65mil and they can go up to $90mil comfortably. Pena is that 30-40HR bat the Orioles do not have and I don’t see coming from the system.

      • jrodhard 5 years ago

        if the Orioles want to overpay for him, go ahead…But if they back up the truck for him like they did with Texeria they will be greatly dissapointed. Having watched Andy MacPhail caustiously spend money while running the Cubs, I doubt he has teh guts to get a deal done with a big time free agent any way.

        • The Mythical One 5 years ago

          Any team not named the Yankees spends money cautiously. I am just simply saying that the Orioles have a need for that type of bat at that position and have the flexibility to add salary. The Orioles aren’t going to give up some of the premium names in their system to get Gonzalez. The Orioles could afford him, that was my point. Whether MacPhail actually signs him, that is another issue.

          • “Any team not named the Yankees spends money cautiously”

            I think this just make you blind. Do you know how many bad contract there are from other teams. Please tell me what player in the current Yankees team did not play up to his contract, unlike Zito, Soriano, Wells, Silva, Bradley, and on and on.

            Please move on from attacking the Yanks on their contracts and payroll.

          • The Mythical One 5 years ago

            You can think what you want, doesn’t make you right. I will stop “attacking” the Yankees and their payroll when they aren’t the only team in baseball that has a $200+ payroll.

            A lot of those names you mentioned were not considered to be bad contracts at the time they were signed. Zito was coming off of a lot of success in Oakland before going to San Francisco and having arm problems. Soriano was one of the top sluggers in the game at one point, Wells (Vernon?) is on the back end of a long contract and has been a major player for the Blue Jays for many years until recently, and Milton Bradley was coming off of a good season with the Rangers and has always been able to hit.

            Name one other team who could afford to go out and sign Teixeira and Burnett one year, then come back and sign C.C. Sabathia the next season while keeping the other two all along while the payroll was around $160-180million at the time these players were signed. So no, the Yankees aren’t making too many bad choices but that is my point. It doesn’t matter if they do like they proved with the Pavano signing.

            Take a look at the last couple of off seasons. Save for the cream of the crop, other guys are not making anywhere near what they used to because most other teams simply can’t afford to pay them those crazy salaries anymore based on a couple of good seasons.

  6. jterp09 5 years ago

    I could see the Orioles making a run at Pena as a free agent if they are at all disappointed in Brandon Snyder’s progress this season. I think the Yankees will have a ton to spend obviously, but I think the O’s might too.

  7. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    I’m not sure what Carlos Pena could rake in from free agency. His power numbers are solid with an .893 OPS. But man, no one could overlook that .227 BA. His offensive numbers are somewhat comparable to Russell Branyan, who had an .867 OPS, 31HR aswell and a slightly better BA at .251, and look how his offseason is going so far..

    If Pena hit the free agent market in this winter, he wouldn’t make the same as last season. If he can turn his BA around and keep the OPS around .900+, there’s no reason he can’t make around $12-million a season.

    If traded mid-season, my guess too would be the Mariners.. if they have any prospects left besides Ackley to trade.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      BA means nothing

      He has consistently had a .350obp which is what really counts

      • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

        It matters when last season he was home run or strike out.

        • RanceMulliniks 5 years ago

          That’s exactly the point – he wasn’t just a HR or a K even though he hit under .230. He was a HR, a K or a BB – his .356 OBP (career .355) isn’t too shabby.

          • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

            Ugh. I understand that his OBP was decent, but Pena is paid to drive in runs, not take walks. But that’s beside the point. All I’m saying is theoretically if his BA was higher last year, that is equivelant to more hits, which means more RBI.

            To prove my point, Pena hit 9 less HR’s in 2008 than 2009, his doubles almost exactly the same, same with triples, yet he drove in more runs and hit for a more respectable .250AVG. His OBP was better that year too.

          • fartfingers 5 years ago

            Actually, Pena is paid, like all ballplayers, to contribute to the team’s offense by not making outs. He did a decent job of that, slugging the most HRs in the league and driving in 100 despite missing time. Batting average is one of the most overrated stats, as it does not tell the whole story.

          • meddler 5 years ago

            Plus a repeat sub .230 batting average is very unlikely. He strikes out too much to be a high average guy, but I’d expect .250-.270 to be much more reasonable than .227. His BABIP last year was just .250, off a career .288 rate and marks no lower than .293 in every other season since 2005. If his BABIP is back in .290+ range, his average is at least .250, and if his walk rates and ISO stay the same (the former has each of the last three seasons and the latter each of the last two) that’s also a solid boost in OBP and SLG as well.

            Though it does appear the low BABIP was more than a superficial problem, his IFFB% increased and his LD% decreased, but not enough to shave nearly .040 points of his BABIP. Even if his BABIP is just .270 he should have around a .250 average.

  8. I think pena could go to the orioles, maybe the redsox if they cant get a first baseman. He brings power and good fielding, so teams will jump at that. As for crawford, i really think he’ll go to free agency, he would end up missing out of alot of money if he didn’t go to free agency. You figure the yankees will go after him without a doubt, and at least 3 other teams will. If there ends up being a bidding war, he could end up with up to 20 million (EXTREMELY DOUBTFUL, but possible). At the least he’ll make around 15 million a year.

    • Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

      I thought about him going to the Red Socks, but what do you do with Youkilis? No matter how shitty UZR may be, Pena’s was -4.6 and Youk’s was -1.6. Also, Youk’s .961 OPS is much better than Pena’s .893.

      • redsox4120 5 years ago

        Sox only signed Beltre for a year, Pena could push Youkilis over to third.

  9. crackman 5 years ago

    I bet the red sox feel pretty dumb about cutting pena back in 2006. I always thought that was one of theo’s worst moves.

    • Dmarkos 5 years ago

      He was also cut by the Yankees and Tigers that same season. Clearly he figured something out AFTER all of that happened. Im also not positive they cut him, did they? or did they just let him walk in FA?

      • start_wearing_purple
        start_wearing_purple 5 years ago

        They didn’t have a spot for him, Youk was clearly entrenched at first, Ortiz at DH, and Lowell at third. It was more or less he requested a shot to get a starting job with another team. He made a turn around and it turned out to be a great pick up for the Rays. That does not however mean it was a bad move for the Sox.

  10. Bravoboy10 5 years ago

    He’s a solid defensive 1B, but not amazing. What about 3/40 to DH for the Yankees? 150 HR’s wouldnt be impossible, not probable, but possible. If they don’t get A-Gon then I think Boston is alomst a lock. Mets may want him, but I don’t see it.

    • Most people seem to think he’s coming to Boston. If he comes though, it better be at Theo’s price. I wouldn’t give up an arm and a leg when we can just sign him after next season. Go after someone else if necessary, and I’m sure Theo will. He’s too sold on the players Hoyer will desire. Kelly’s not leaving. Buchholz is not leaving unless something drastic happens. Bard’s not leaving… Westmoreland is probably not leaving. So unless they want to discuss a package of like, Tazawa, Bowden, Reddick, and if its desperate he may toss Buchholz in there… But anything more than that is too much.

      • Bravoboy10 5 years ago

        I was referring to him signing via free agency with Boston, not trade.

  11. jhon325 5 years ago

    The shift played against him took away 30 to 40 points from his 2009 ave. Hes an amazing 1B !! I watched him play for the past 3 years and believe me ! hes amazing !

  12. Honestly… I don’t get it… Didn’t Pena hit like .220 last year? He normally hits around .250 with 35-45 homers or so? I’d not give him much more than Dunn… Maybe 3/33 at the absolute max, but who knows. So many teams are willing to give up a lot of money to risky guys. I remember at a point last season though where he had more homers than singles… That is something I didn’t know was possible.

    • Ferrariman 5 years ago

      Dunn loses value in defense.

      And I’ve said it before, if he is gonna have an obp of .380+, who cares what his BA is.

  13. NL_East_Rivalry 5 years ago

    I think he’ll get a good deal, but he will be one of the last to get a deal next off-season.

  14. This is a Roto question but … I’ve got 2 keeper picks available for:

    Most 1B’s are gone, but I don’t think Pena makes it.

  15. basemonkey 5 years ago

    The Orioles have been on the market for a good 1B for a while now, and they’ve been biding them time saving money, getting out of bad contracts, while priming their young team for a legitimate push starting 2011.

    It might line up where Pena might be a very reasonable fit, since he wouldn’t have to make much of an adjustment since he’d stay in the same division. Mike Gonzalez chose the Orioles over other good offers from good teams, simply because he sees the Os as a young rising team. Maybe Pena makes the same conclusion?

  16. goldenglove002 5 years ago

    Braves would probably show interest in him midseason if Glaus doesn’t work out.

  17. bobbybaseball 5 years ago

    Pena has experienced a steady decline* the past three seasons and he turns 33 in May.

    2007: .282 /.411/.627
    2008: .247/.377/.494
    2009: .227/.356/.537
    *SLG up in 2009

    I don’t think I would sign him to an expensive, long-term contract.

  18. tyler41 5 years ago

    Giants need to get Pena even though I’d rather have adrian but thats not gonna happen. pena has enough power to still hit 30-35 out of at&t and is a plus 1B.. one year of huff and go hard after pena

  19. markjsunz 5 years ago

    The owner of the rays was quoted in an article that this years Rays team is the best team they ever had. And they plan on playing in the post season. Not sure that will come to pass, but they have some talented young pitching and if the staff can come together there offense is there. The yankees are the class of the east but baseball is funny, a few injurys here and there guys slumping, and sometimes a team just puts it all together, and jells and beats the favorites. For those who believe you can get 20-1 in vegas

  20. yankeepride3 5 years ago

    Seattle seems perfect to me. Team needs a power hitter who can play above average defense. Fits perfect.

  21. YanksFanSince78 5 years ago

    As long as Pena stays healthy and posts a .250/.380 35 -40 hr year in 2010 then I would expect him to easily get a 4/$40 mil deal. Sometimes we get so swept away with the latest trends that we exagerate things. Age 36 is not old. It is old if you were always a defensive liability and now your offensive skills have slipped some. However, in the case of Pena he’s a plus defender at a position that ages well. He is NOT Jermaine Dye or Johnny Damon.

    Also, people say that neither Pena or Crawford would make it to FA because they’ll be traded. That’s a moot point. No one is going to extend either before the end of the year.

    I could easily see the …

    Red Sox (replacing Ortiz/Lowel at DH or moving Youks to 3B)
    Tigers (moving Cabrera to DH)
    White Sox (letting Konerko walk as a FA)
    Angels (In case they don’t resign Kendry Morales)
    Braves (replacing Glaus)
    Cubs (replacing Lee)
    Giants (replacing Huff)

    Contrary to the idea that Pena should jump at the 1st 3 year offer, I think he’s really in a great situation. Assuming that Pujols doesn’t make it to the market this winter how could Pena not be the #1 rated 1B in this class?

    Lance Berkman HOU *
    Wes Helms FLA
    Jason Giambi COL
    Ross Gload FLA
    Paul Konerko CWS
    Derrek Lee CHC
    David Ortiz BOS *
    Lyle Overbay TOR
    Carlos Pena TB

    If anything he becomes a nice alternative to trading away the farm for Agonz or a nice concellation prize for missing out on him.

  22. thegrayrace 5 years ago

    If James Loney is a disappointment this season (his SLG/OPS is pretty pathetic for NL 1B), I could potentially see the Dodgers having interest… of course, it will depend on the divorce/ownership situation, but they will have some money coming off the books from Kuroda ($12.5 million) and Manny (a few million) and may be looking to add some power. Though I think they should pursue Hawpe for LF instead.

  23. Encarnacion's Parrot 5 years ago

    As the Mets learned last season, getting on base isn’t good enough.

    This is what I’m trying to point out. I mean, if Pena can walk 75-times more than the league average and never hit a single, I’m fine with that, which is why OPS is one of the best stats out there. Also, if I’m rubbing off that OBP is overrated, it’s a very telling stat. AVG is indeed overrated, but it tells enough.

    Pena is gonna strike out a ton, but 329 combined SO in 2 seasons is a little too insane.

    Aaaaaaand, Pena was a .264BA with a 1.044 OPS with RISP.

  24. Thanks. But forgot Beltran.
    Other 2 spots are JSantana/Halladay!

  25. markjsunz 5 years ago

    The Rays payroll will be reduced next year. Crawford might be able to get 10 million a year on the market. If the Rays resign him he will eat up a third of there payroll. It is too bad that they just do not draw enough fans. Maybe the state of florida is more of a minor league state. The fans that the rays draw are loyal, and polite. They are some of the best fans in baseball.

  26. thegrayrace 5 years ago

    Yeah, Lee is definitely better than Pena. His BA, OBP, SLG and OPS were all significantly superior in 2009.

    Berkman is arguable, but I’d say he is better than Pena too. Pena only has him beat in SLG. Berkman is better in BA, OBP and OPS. Berkman seems to be on the decline, though.

    Still, I’d take Lee or Berkman over Pena on my team.

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