Indians Interested In Carlos Pena

The Indians like Carlos Pena and asked ownership if they could make a deal for the 33-year-old Scott Boras client work, Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer tweets. Pena would provide the Indians with a power bat at first base and make the team's lineup even more left-handed than it already is.

Matt LaPorta and Carlos Santana figure to get most of the playing time at first base unless the Indians add a first baseman such as Pena or Casey Kotchman. Pena, a well-regarded defender, posted a .225/.357/.462 line with 28 home runs in 606 plate appearances for the Cubs in 2011.

Approximately 8% of 15,600 MLBTR poll respondents said they expect Pena to sign with the Indians. Many fans and analysts expected the Indians to pursue right-handed bats because their roster already includes left-handed hitters such as Jason Kipnis, Michael Brantley, Shin-Soo Choo, Grady Sizemore, Travis Hafner, Jack Hannahan and Lonnie Chisenhall.


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26 Comments on "Indians Interested In Carlos Pena"


101andCounting
3 years 6 months ago

I’m surprised the Indians aren’t interested in Derrek Lee. I know his bat’s slowed down a bit, but I could see him hitting pretty well in the 6-spot behind Santana, Choo, and Hafner.

bigpat
3 years 6 months ago

Derrek Lee must have REALLY hated Pittsburgh since he declined arb. I’d be shocked if he gets more than 5M. He came on strong late last year but it’s tough to see him getting more than a one year deal. Win-win if he signs somewhere else because he didn’t want to be in Pittsburgh and I’d rather just get a draft pick anyways.

3 years 6 months ago

Rumor is the Indians were interested in D Lee, but D Lee wasn’t interested in the Indians. That said, him and Carlos Pena are very similar at this point in their careers.

101andCounting
3 years 6 months ago

They are similar players, although I think Lee hits for a better average with a little less raw power. Of course, Lee’s also right-handed, which  is why I think he’d be a good fit for the Indians.

Wrek305
3 years 6 months ago

Lee is washed up no one will sign him. I would be shocked if he signed anywhere to be honest. He hasn’t had a good year since 2008 the last time he had over 100rbi and it was his 2nd best career year, his only other good hitting season I think was 2004 when hit hit 46 hrs. Then it was down hill from there when he had the broken wrist etc.

joeybw
3 years 6 months ago

Come on AF, while they are wasting time begging ownership to let them spend some money, sign him for the Rays!

pmc765
3 years 6 months ago

Pena is a good player, but he made $10M last year, didn’t he? Why should Cleveland, which figures to lose 85-95 games, pay nearly $10M for a first baseman when they can get most of that production for the big league minimum? Are 2-3 extra wins on the margin worth all that cash?

3 years 6 months ago

I doubt it’d be 10 million. I’d be willing to pay that tho on a one year deal. I don’t know who you’re suggesting will produce Pena’s numbers for the big league minimum. Enlighten me please.

bigpat
3 years 6 months ago

How do you see them losing that many games this season? Granted their roster isn’t loaded, but it’s pretty good and they aren’t just going to lie down and let Detroit win the division.

They traded quality prospects for Ubaldo and got Derek Lowe for the rotation as well. I think they are trying to win now and acquire any players who can make them better. Pena has more value than LaPorta on first, obviously.

pmc765
3 years 6 months ago

Pena is 33 and on the down side of the mountain. LaPorta and Santana combined could, maybe, produce median offense/defense at a position where offense is easy to come by. If you give a 33 year old mercenary looking for a better deal elsewhere the at bats of young assets you guarantee the young assets do not remain assets.

The Tribe overachieved last year, especially in the first half. They figure to regress toward the mean. It’s not a matter of lying down, of overconfidence. They’ll show up and they’ll try.

But Ubaldo doesn’t compare to Verlander, that’s obvious. Derek Lowe is no Doug Fister. The Tiger bullpen is lots better and lots deeper. The Tigers have Miguel Cabrera and figure to score lots more runs.

If I’m the owner and the GM asks me to give Pena $10M, I say why? I can lose nearly as many games with him as without him. He doesn’t exactly sell tickets. I’d rather my closer face him in the ninth with the game on the line than watch the other team’s closer fan Pena in the ninth of close games.

Carlos Pena, more of everything….HR’s, walks, K’s, outs. In the end, he doesn’t add enough to shell out premium wages for him.

3 years 6 months ago

Matt LaPorta isn’t an asset. Carlos Santana would more than likely still make starts at 1B vs lefties, and Pena could spell Hafner at DH. 

I don’t understand the bullpen comparison. The Tribes bullpen is about as solid as they come.The average price of a win was like 2.8 mill last year I think. If Cleveland can get Pena a (3 WAR-ish player) for 7-10 million, I’m okay with that, especially when he’s held in comparison with the meager production of Matt LaPorta.

Pena may strike out a lot, but he also walked more than any other 1B last season. On top of that, his wOBA was top 10 among qualifying 1B.

I wouldn’t give him more than a 1-year deal with an option, but I would sign him.

Erik Beatty
3 years 6 months ago

Pena is likely to decline within the next couple of years, but he still dramatically outproduced Cleveland 1B last year (.763 OPS vs .819). Besides that, you’re looking at the comparison wrong – you should be viewing the production of Marson and LaPorta compared to Pena, in which case Pena would absolutely dwarf them.

According to pythag, the Tribe outperformed their run differential by about 5 wins. The issue here is it’s difficult to account for the injuries the Tribe faced last year (including but not limited to: 80% of their opening day rotation, their DH, CF, LF, RF, and 1B). Also, the team put up with dreadful production from their 2B for most of the year (OCab, 67 OPS+), which was replaced with top prospect Kipnis.

In the end, does it make up a team that can compete? Considering the rest of the teams in the division have basically thrown in the towel, perhaps if they can do better than 36-35 vs the AL Central. That may be worth an $8M gamble on a player like Pena.

pmc765
3 years 6 months ago

Last year the Tribe started out hot and had a big lead in May. After that they reverted to their proper level. The Ubaldo trade is too early to judge but the young pitchers lost may be missed.

The Tribe cannot put an imposing starter on the mound every night. The back end of its rotation is unimposing. That translates into too many unwinnable games.

Why spend all that dough to finish a few games closer but still well back? I think the at bats should be given to younger, cheaper internal options. The Tigers aren’t going to win the division by 15 games year after year. When the Tigers regress the Indians need to be ready, which won’t be in 2012.

3 years 6 months ago

They reverted yes. They also didn’t get crushed until they had to bring up half of their AAA team to play due to injuries. Going into Sept, it was still a competition.

The Indians window to compete is 2012 and 2013. After that, it’s total rebuild. So yes, you spend money within your means to win as many games as possible.

Erik Beatty
3 years 6 months ago

Yes, Lowe and Carmona are hardly imposing, but they have the potential to outproduce their numbers from last year. If you look at their xFIP, every one but Masterson pitched significantly better than their ERA reflects. This rotation is significantly better if they can perform anywhere close to their expected numbers.

You also need to take into account that once you get within 5 games or so of a division lead, anything can happen. You’re talking about 3% of the games at that point, which can be impacted by just a handful of bad hops. A few things bounce in their favor and they’re in good shape. Besides, don’t underestimate the impact of a playoff race into September. The Indians are desperate to re-energize their fanbase, and a September playoff run would be huge.

Besides, it doesn’t seem that the demand for Kotchman and/or Pena is thriving – these are the types of deals the Tribe should be targeting. It’s likely to be a 1 year deal for $5-8M. If the guy busts, there’s very little financial impact. If the guy does well and they fall out of the race, they trade him for prospects. And it’s not like a top prospect would be held back on account of this transaction – their #2 option is LaPorta.

vtadave
3 years 6 months ago

LaPorta is garbage. If you’re counting on him for anything above replacement-level play, prepare to be disappointed.

UrkillingmeSmalls
3 years 6 months ago

 Even if things go wrong, the Indians will not be losing 85-95 games next year.

3 years 6 months ago

I don’t want to put a 100% for sure stamp on it, but I’d be very surprised if the Indians finished below .500.

diesel2410
3 years 6 months ago

But there’s no way they’re winning 90 

Hermie13
3 years 6 months ago

Had injuries not struck they may have won 90 with their current roster last year.  Adding Pena and 90 wins is very realistic.  Saying there’s “no way” is pretty over the top.

85 wins seems very likely if they add Pena. 1 or 2 breaks and 90 may be on the low end for them.

Then again…couple bad breaks (like last year) and they could lose 80-85 games again.

Max Forstag
3 years 6 months ago

You didn’t follow baseball last season. The Indians are not going to lose 85-95 games this year.

thekidfromyesterday
3 years 6 months ago

Wow they have a guitarist playing 1b 

sdsny
3 years 6 months ago

Does he have a black magic woman?

heyhey72
3 years 6 months ago

Are you people kidding me? I’m not really an indians fan but a rotation of masterson, ubaldo, tomlin, fausto and lowe is not spectacular but certainly solid.  And a lineup with cabrera, santana, kipnis, choo, chisenhall, brantley, and a healthy hafner and sizemore is VERY powerful, and they also have a top 5 bullpen.  You throw a quality pena or kotchman in there and they could easily win the al central

Hermie13
3 years 6 months ago

Santana figures to catch 120-130 games next year, maybe more if a good 1B is brought in.  Pena over LaPorta is huge.  yeah Pena is awful against lefties but Lou marson actually hits them pretty well and can platoon of sorts with him (with Santana playing 1B those days).

Plus….consider a few things.  Progressive Field is built better for lefties. Shorter wall and the ball carries better to RF.  Always has and always will be a park for left-handed hitters.

Also…look at the division the indians play in: the AL Central.  How many great or even good left-handed starters are in it?  Danks….and Lirano (sometimes)?  Buehrle is now gone (Tribe killer it seemed).  There are way more right-handed pitchers so getting a guy in Pena who hits them very well is a plus IMO.  Shelley Duncan is a solid bench guy who can pinch hit late if needed.  It’s not the perfect scenario but Pena should be good for a 2.5-3 WAR this year.

Jonathunder
3 years 6 months ago

More than approve.  Can’t do much worse than what we did at 1st base last year.