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?