Rays Sign Carlos Pena

The Rays have signed Carlos Pena to a one-year deal that will bring the powerful first baseman back to Tampa Bay, the team announced. The Scott Boras client will earn $7.25MM in 2012.

“Carlos is one of the most accomplished players in team history and he is a great fit for our club in 2012 both on and off the field,” Rays executive VP of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said. “He adds to our offense with his power while maintaining the high defensive standard we seek.”

Carlos Pena - Rays

Pena, 33, posted a .225/.357/.462 line with 28 home runs in 606 plate appearances for the Cubs in 2011. He earned $10MM last, when the Rays spent $42MM on their entire Major League payroll. Pena averaged 36 home runs and a .238/.368/.516 line in his four seasons in Tampa Bay from 2007-10. Just 9.36% of 15,700 people who participated in MLBTR's December poll expected Pena to return to Tampa Bay. 

The Rays have added substantial power to the lineup in Pena and Luke ScottCasey Kotchman, who played first base for the Rays in 2011, will presumably sign elsewhere — possibly in Cleveland — now that the Rays no longer have an opening at first base. Potential suitors for Pena such as the Yankees, Tigers and Indians will have to turn elsewhere for power bats.

The Cubs offered Pena arbitration after the season, so they'll earn a compensatory draft pick for losing the Type B free agent. However, the Rays don't have to surrender a pick to add Pena. Pena ranked 16th on MLBTR's list of top free agents entering the offseason.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the agreement, after Yahoo's Tim Brown reported that the Rays were "in pretty deep" with Pena. Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


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148 Comments on "Rays Sign Carlos Pena"


diesel2410
3 years 6 months ago

JALAPENA! Welcome back!!

Ron Loreski
3 years 6 months ago

on a steeek

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

Pena and Scott, good replacements over Damon and Kotchman.

101andCounting
3 years 6 months ago

Replacing high-average and low-power with low-average and high-power

Gibson17
3 years 6 months ago

Haha…see, I told you I could be totally wrong and they could sign him!  I think this was a good move for them.  I didn’t like the Luke Scott signing, but that’s probably at least partly because I think Luke Scott is a knucklehead.

Thomas Wilson
3 years 6 months ago

Ryan Howard 2011 .253/.346/.488 11.6BB% 26.7K% 33HR Bad D Salary 25 MilCarlos Pena 2011.225/.357/.462 16.7BB% 26.6K% 29HR Good D Salary 7.35 Mil

Tko11
3 years 6 months ago

Bill James would approve. 

3 years 6 months ago

good call…… Damon and Kotchman have better OPS.. I will take (2) .290 hitters over a 28HR .225 hitter and Luke Scott any day… HR or K, that’s about it for these two

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

Well thats cool I guess but like I said, they replaced Damon and Kotchman. Damon and Kotchman are not .290 hitters.

Scott has stats too you know, and he averages almost .850 OPS.

You’re kidding yourself harder than me right now if you actually think Kotchman will replicate anything close to 2011 ever again.

Damon has lost all plate discipline in his search for hit # 3000. Can he still play DH? Sure.
But Scott can play it better.

Pena is better than Kotchman in every way except for batting average.

vikray
3 years 6 months ago

DH and 1B are two positions where you need some power, especially when
the ‘defense’ positions of SS and C pretty much just drove down air
conditioning costs at the Trop last year with all those whiffs. Pena hit more homers and walked more than Kotch and Damon combined last year. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll miss Damon, but his AVG and OBP have declined the past three years and he hasn’t hit that .290 mark since he hit over .300 with the Yanks in 08. Kotch exceeded expectations but even if he reproduces his 2011 numbers a first baseman who drove in under 50 runs over an entire season won’t cut it on a contending team.

Karkat
3 years 6 months ago

Good move by the Rays, I think. Just thinking the other day that the Rays are a solid first base option away from contending again.

mwach1
3 years 6 months ago

Well that sucks. I was hoping Cashman would swoop in and sign him. How much do we think the deal was for? 1 year at about $8mm?

diesel2410
3 years 6 months ago

I’d say 2/14 or 1/7 with an option

diesel2410
3 years 6 months ago

$7.25 million on a 1 year deal. I was close

scott brecht
3 years 6 months ago

yeah.  i was thinking 2/15.  didn’t think he would sign a 1 year deal again.  nice move by the rays.  

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

That would be a 3 million cut from last year.

Mikey Roederer
3 years 6 months ago

except when you add in the 5M he just got paid by the Cubs for this season…

brian310
3 years 6 months ago

He’s including it with that statement…it was a one year, $10 mill deal with 5 mill being paid last season and 5 mill being paid this month

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

I’m thinking a multi-year deal, but yeah around 8mm for year 1.

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

boo only one year. oh well ill take it.

$3513744
3 years 6 months ago

$250 mil over 10 years with a 5 year player option.

3 years 6 months ago

thats a tough batting average to swallow in the AL East

3 years 6 months ago

Last batted .196 on the Rays in almost 500 PA’s

3 years 6 months ago

That was accompanied by a .222 BABIP, which is low even for someone like Pena, and well below is .278 career BABIP. As a Ray’s fan, we need power, which is exactly what he brings with his.248 career ISO.

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

I’m usually not one of those guys who fixes people’s grammar mistakes. (Hey I make plenty myself). But since you typed your sentences well, I thought I’d let you know there is a spelling mistake. It’s not Ray’s, it’s Rays.

Tko11
3 years 6 months ago

Unless the Rays actually own Matt. Maybe they are that desperate for fans. 

3 years 6 months ago

And seriously, who rely’s that much on battle average anymore? 

MB923
3 years 6 months ago

And it’s relies, not rely’s.

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

He was a good fit for the Rays before, and hes a good fit for them now.

3 years 6 months ago

He consistently OPSes over .800.   His batting average isn’t that important.

3 years 6 months ago

lets not forget the fact that pena and crawford were the leaders when the rays went to world series and penas defense is equal to kotchmans id say and you get more power and heart. love longoria but penas leadership is far more contagious to the rest of the players

Infield Fly
3 years 6 months ago

…And that pre-game boogie he does in the dugout is a happy plus! :)

RBIBaseball
3 years 6 months ago

Watch the Yanks sign Kotchman now.

3 years 6 months ago

To DH? Lol.

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

You don’t sign kotchman to hit lol.

RBIBaseball
3 years 6 months ago

Projected .268/.344/.402 slash line next year. He doesn’t need to hit the longball. Just has to get a hit.

3 years 6 months ago

You get Kotchman to play great defense as well.  And given the Yankees have arguably the best defensive 1B right now, it seems superfluous.

RBIBaseball
3 years 6 months ago

You use him at 1B when you need to give Teix a half day off.

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

I like to look at what he’s done before, than what someone thinks he might do in the future.

RBIBaseball
3 years 6 months ago

Um..trying actually looking at his stats pretty consistent with that projection. 2010 he had a fluke year where he had a .229 Babip. Yankees don”t need another guy to hit homers they need a guy who can draw a walk or get a base hit.

3 years 6 months ago

Very good points here. Yanks have plenty of power. 

Onetimeaccount
3 years 6 months ago

What’s his 162 game average babip? 2011 was near .335 (fluke year).

RBIBaseball
3 years 6 months ago

Well regression is in order, I know that but  Kotchman isn’t going to regress to 2010 levels either.

3 years 6 months ago

He hit 30 points better in his season with the cubs where he earned $10 million so he should be getting a raise…

bleedrockiepurple
3 years 6 months ago

No sir. 7.25 mil on 1 yr deal.

3 years 6 months ago

It was a joke, because him getting $10 million for a .195 BA was a joke.

Cosmo3
3 years 6 months ago

You’re not taking the Hendry Factor into consideration. 

OnlyInCleveland
3 years 6 months ago

Much rather have seen Pena in Cleveland than Kotchman… especially with him signing for 7.25MM… much cheaper than I expected. Go figure that how things shake out in Cleveland.

Would rather see them use the bullpen depth they have and swing a trade for someone else…. If the Angels aren’t interested in moving Trumbo, who could be a potential suitor?

Natsfan89
3 years 6 months ago

Damn. Was hoping the the Nats/Rays would work something out for LaRoche or Morse

faceforest
3 years 6 months ago

For who on the Rays?

Natsfan89
3 years 6 months ago

Upton. Rays needed a first baseman, Nats need a CF and it was rumored that Rizzo is in love Upton.

$1529282
3 years 6 months ago

Except Upton had trade value and LaRoche doesn’t.

3 years 6 months ago

Well, until the All-star break at least. When Adam LaRoche turns into a superstar.

Bobby G
3 years 6 months ago

Woooooo Hooooooo PENA!!!!!

MetsEventually
3 years 6 months ago

Why didn’t the Rays resign Kotch? 

diesel2410
3 years 6 months ago

Because he can’t hit for power. And do you actually think he can duplicate last year’s performance? Not me

faceforest
3 years 6 months ago

As much as I like Kotchman, Pena is a better player.

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

I’m actually surprised he got $7m – especially from the Rays. Was there that much demand for him?

He’ll be worth it but I didn’t think the market was breaking right for him to cash in.

alan104
3 years 6 months ago

Holy Jalapena !! It’s a thing of beauty to watch Carlos swat those majestic homers and pick errant throws out of the dirt. The pitchers and former team mates will gladly welcome him back. I just wish he’d find a way to figure the shift and cut down on those awfuls whiffs.

TribeGuy
3 years 6 months ago

I guess Indians will have to go with Kotchman or wait to see where Fielder signs, I’m sad for this

3 years 6 months ago

Oh no, I was hoping for tigers to sign him…but Rays is my second best team so good luck Calrose

NiceGamePrettyBoy
3 years 6 months ago

Very nice signing by the Rays. 

vtadave
3 years 6 months ago

LF Jennings
2B Zobrist
1B Pena
3B Longoria
DH Scott
CF Upton
RF Joyce
SS Rodriguez
C Molina

Not bad.

3 years 6 months ago

Rays New Line-UP VS. the Orioles Current line-up as of 1/20/12

LF Who knows?
2B TBD… I like Andino, but others do not
1B Who knows! I hear Chris Davis is back and Reynolds to 3rd
DH Who Knows?
CF Adam Jones, then again who knows. Since Fan Fest is tomorrow and if the O’s were going to trade him. They should have done it by now.
RF Markakis when he recovers fully
SS Hardy
C Wieters

Rotation: More Question Marks, than the Riddlers outfit in the “Campy” Batman Series from the 60’s!
Not Good! Way to go “Dumpster Diving” Duquette!
Buying “Them” Cheap and Stacking “Them” Deep! Just how Angelos Likes “Them”

FS54
3 years 6 months ago

I like the “open lineup”.

javywoz
3 years 6 months ago

Might have been a mistake, but there’s no way the Rays bat Pena 3rd.  He’ll bat 4th or 5th (depending upon Joyce’s progress). 

3 years 6 months ago

i would have put pena in the 4 spot. or maybe scott. i dont know i just love longo in the 3 spot. 

3 years 6 months ago

i would have put pena in the 4 spot. or maybe scott. i dont know i just love longo in the 3 spot. 

Michael Moses
3 years 6 months ago

More like:
LF Jennings (R)
2B Zobrist (S)
3B Longoria (R)
1B Pena (L)
CF Upton (R)
DH Scott (L)
RF Joyce (L)
C Molina (R)
SS Rodriguez (R)

Of course predicting a Maddon lineup is an exercise in futility.

3 years 6 months ago

LF Jennings (R)
CF Upton (R)
3B Longoria (R)
1B Pena (L)
DH Scott (L)
2B Zobrist (S)
RF Joyce (L)
C Molina (R)
SS Rodriguez (R)/ Brignac (L)

javywoz
3 years 6 months ago

This will likely be the lineup except with Zobrist flipping with Scott verse lefthanders.  Zobrist probably should bat 2nd, but Upton produced a 1.000+ OPS at the end of the year when Maddon moved him up to 2nd.  He won’t mess with that until Upton proves otherwise I think. 

alan104
3 years 6 months ago

Things have shaped up nicely. I wish Kotchman and Damon well. They were tremendous contributors to last years team. Scott and Pena will add much needed pop to this line-up. Great signing.

3 years 6 months ago

With Pena’s LH/RH split so bad, I really saw him a perfect fit for the Yankees as their LH DH. But good for him getting a full time gig. I gotta imagine he will likely only see 1/2 the LH starters this season.

3 years 6 months ago

I had commented the exact same thing regarding Pena and Yankees. It was just too perfect to happen

GrayhawkAZ
3 years 6 months ago

Newsflash: he is NOT playing full time.. The have a right hand compliment in a AAA player who hit lefties to a tune of .350