Bridgeport Bluefish Sign Wily Mo Pena

The Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish signed outfielder Wily Mo Pena on Saturday, according to the team.  Pena, 28, had been released by the Mets about a year ago after posting a .276/.296/.414 line in 152 Triple A plate appearances.  Pena's new team features plenty of familiar names, such as Brian Barton, Denny Stark, Jorge Julio, Antonio Alfonseca, Tike Redman, Adam Greenberg, and Esteban Yan.

Pena was once very highly regarded as a power hitter.  He has three appearances on a Baseball America Top 100 Prospects list, once for the Yankees and twice for the Reds.  He was still an interesting player upon being dealt to the Red Sox for Bronson Arroyo in '06 and to the Nationals the following year.  Shoulder surgery and a $2MM salary led to Pena's release by the Nats in March of '09.


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27 Comments on "Bridgeport Bluefish Sign Wily Mo Pena"


johnsilver
5 years 2 months ago

All the power in the world. Shame he swings at anything within a foot (or 2?) of the strike zone and never could hit an off speed pitch.

This guy ever learns to do one of those 2 things and he could become a useful corner OF/PH in the National League.

5 years 2 months ago

That’s a bit harsh, he once hit off-speed pitching. Literally, just that once.

It does make me kind of doubt the factors they use in evaluating talent though when a guy like Mo Pena can’t ever lay off a curve ball but still kept being rated as a top prospect. No plate discipline wonderlic tests in scouting, apparently.

johnsilver
5 years 2 months ago

It’s not trying to dice the guy. he really seemed like a decent pickup when Epstein 1st got him, just needed more “polish” and most thought that the price was cheap and Arroyo was going to get eaten up the more he was seen by AL East lineups anyway.

Like may others here have posted. I too saw some of Pena’s laser shows in BP, but here in Tampa Bay at the Thunder Dome and that guy would just launch one after the other, not cheapo’s either. he always seemed to have a crowd of supporters when was on the road here also and was always throwing balls into the crowd during warmups well before game time, he was a likeable guy it seemed, just not destined to make it with boston.

04Forever
5 years 2 months ago

no mo pena

5 years 2 months ago

Yet another one of Theo’s wonderful pickups.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Lucky for you, eh? They’re about the only thing you can find to criticize him for.

5 years 2 months ago

Give Beckett and Lackey a couple years.

Seriously though, Theo has done a good job but I’m foreseeing a lot of money tied up in pitchers likely to decline. Plus I never liked Lackey. He seems to have trouble with good hitting, which isn’t exactly a playoff plus. With that said, except for Mo Pena, most of the big moves have been solid gold. Even at the time I thought it was obvious that losing Arroyo for Mo Pena was a big overpay. Turned out it was giving away something for nothing.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Beckett seems likelier to decline than Lackey, if you ask me, as he’s far more dependent on velocity he’s bound to lose. Having said that, I really like Beckett, I don’t like Lackey much, and I don’t like 5-year contracts for pitchers over 30. At all.

I would hold his multiple failures at SS and his struggles to secure an effective bullpen against Theo the most. The Arroyo thing did in fact net very little in return, but Arroyo just wasn’t that costly a loss. The Matt Clement situation was not predictable.

Even accounting for these mistakes, he’s put together 90+ win teams year after year in an obscenely difficult division. He has drafted well, developed well, and made very few mistakes. A few of his trades & acquisitions did not pan out, sure; but I differentiate between decent ideas that don’t work (e.g. Wily Mo, John Smoltz, etc.) and mistakes (e.g. GMJ in NY).

aap212
5 years 2 months ago

Man, that Theo Epstein. He can’t do anything right.

johnsilver
5 years 2 months ago

Epstein not as good on the discard/trade fron as was Duquette was, but at least he didn’t make moves like Lou Gorman.. care for a reminder??

Brady Anderson AND Curt Schilling for Mike Boddicker.

John Tudor for Mike Easler

jeff Bagwell for Larry Anderson

lets give him some credit over ‘loveable Lou”….

aap212
5 years 2 months ago

Not to mention two World Series wins. And chalking up really good year and three years of league average work in the NL Central isn’t exactly something the Red Sox have to lose a ton of sleep about giving away.

5 years 2 months ago

Things turned out all right, but it is the kind of thing they should lose sleep over. Arroyo was worth more than 9 wins over replacement over the duration of his contract. Fangraphs pegs that as being worth about 30 million. That means he probably deserved to get paid somewhere around 75% of that (~22 million). So they gave up 11 million in surplus value on a very bad bet. I think that whole situation is the reason why the Red Sox have been working to enter the season with 6 legitimate starters ever since.

aap212
5 years 2 months ago

I like Fan Graphs, but they also think a hot dog at the ballpark is worth $2.5 million.

johnsilver
5 years 2 months ago

And let’s not forget Wes Gardner and Calvin Schiraldi for Bobby Ojeda either…

bigpat
5 years 2 months ago

Wily Mo will always remain an interesting player to me

aap212
5 years 2 months ago

I’ll always remember watching the Red Sox take BP and seeing WMP put on a show that humbled even Manny and Papi. It’s not the same as being a great player, but stuff like that makes baseball fun and I’m glad for it.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Ever seen Ichiro take BP?

Holy. Crap.

04Forever
5 years 2 months ago

Ive seen WMP take batting practice, he definitely lights up the plate, but if all you can it is a 70-80 mph “fast” ball, then you might as well sign me and ill play for the Red Sox

ELPinchy
5 years 2 months ago

I still have to root for the guy. He got screwed by not having enough time in the minor.

jwredsox
5 years 2 months ago

I loved his broken bat HR. If only the AFL was around still. Maybe they would pick him up.

TheProfessor69
5 years 2 months ago

… Wow he was a guy who had the chances and just could not do it. What a shame ,so many never get a chance or have a star ahead of them in the system and don’t get to shine and by the time they are dealt to the right team or the star gets hurt or whatever , his star does not not shine so bright any more. I wish the guy well and I am sure there are thousands and thousands who would have loved to have his chance. Run Wily Mo run , run like the wind … run.

TheProfessor69
5 years 2 months ago

… Wow he was a guy who had the chances and just could not do it. What a shame ,so many never get a chance or have a star ahead of them in the system and don’t get to shine and by the time they are dealt to the right team or the star gets hurt or whatever , his star does not not shine so bright any more. I wish the guy well and I am sure there are thousands and thousands who would have loved to have his chance. Run Wily Mo run , run like the wind … run.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Yes, I know. But if you watch him in BP, you don’t have to take his word for it. The ball rarely goes more than 10 feet over the wall, but it goes there every damn time — usually on a line drive.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

Woa, dude. Bronson Arroyo wasn’t a great anything in Boston. He had a team-friendly contract and Wily Mo was a miss, but let’s not get carried away.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

I know you’re not going to measure a pitcher’s performance by how many games he won.

His xFIP with boston were 4.21 and 5.08. Those are respectable for his role and his cost to the Sox. But like I said, he wasn’t great at anything.

It wasn’t a crazy trade, just a badly failed one.

5 years 2 months ago

I think his FIP is actually a better indicator in this case. xFIP is assuming that too many balls are leaving the yard in Fenway, which actually supresses HR (while boosting BA). Using just standard FIP, Arroyo put up 3.8 and 4.4 over two years. By comparison, the Red Sox signed Clement for serious money after putting up 4.1 and 4 FIP.

You also seem to be discounting how incredibly team-friendly his contract was: 11.25 million over 3 years. Not FOR each of the three years, but just under 4 million each year. Even for a league-average pitcher, that’s an absurd surplus value. Probably about 4 million per year. Considering the bust rate of prospects, I doubt Mo Pena’s expected surplus value was even close to the range of 12 million over 3 years.

In my book, that is kind of a crazy trade. You don’t make that kind of trade unless you REALLY believe you can fix what’s wrong with the prospect or you’re sure the guy you’re trading is about to go off a cliff. As bad as this trade looks, it isn’t even the worst-case scenario. Imagine if Arroyo developed more and dropped his FIP by half a run. You’ve now given up a 4 million dollar ace for a spare part. It’s not like he was an old guy, and he was new to starting in the MLB.

I just don’t see any scenario where the Red Sox win in that trade unless Mo Pena becomes a star. Even as a regular player hitting 0.275 and 25 HR with poor defense, he’d have been worth less than a league average starter. I can see why the Red Sox might have felt it was an okay trade (he was the 6th starter), but ultimately you have to trade guys close to market value- not short sell them because they’re not worth much on your roster that year.

ReverendBlack
5 years 2 months ago

“In my book, that is kind of a crazy trade. You don’t make that kind of trade unless you REALLY believe you can fix what’s wrong with the prospect or you’re sure the guy you’re trading is about to go off a cliff.”

“I can see why the Red Sox might have felt it was an okay trade (he was the 6th starter), but ultimately you have to trade guys close to market value- not short sell them because they’re not worth much on your roster that year. ”

Nnnno, I think you kinda figured it out here without me saying much. For all the reasons you explained, the trade never happens if Arroyo even has the 5th spot in the rotation. The best thing he had going for him (in terms of value to the Sox) was his contract. It wasn’t costing them a lot to keep him around. Boston was confident they were selling high on the guy; they thought he was playing at or above his potential. He wasn’t even worth a spot in the rotation at that time.

So for one, his team-friendly contract is not nearly as friendly when he’s not even in the rotation. He’s a 4M reliever/spot starter instead of a 4M starter — that matters. For another, they weren’t big on him to begin with. In other words, Arroyo’s greatest value to them was not his production but as a trade piece. They had needs and they could either attempt to fulfill them by trading away a piece the loss of which simply would not hurt them much — or keep the piece that won’t cost them much, but won’t give them much either.

Having said all that, huge swing and miss on the trade and I agreed and agree still with your comments about Wily-Mo’s projectability even back then. But I think the decision TO TRADE Arroyo — if not for Pena then for someone else — was far from crazy.