7:05pm: Pena’s deal includes an August 1 opt-out clause, reports Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram (via Twitter).
12:06pm: The Rangers have signed veteran first baseman Carlos Pena to a minor league deal and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock, executive VP of communications John Blake announced (on Twitter). Pena is a client of Scott Boras.
A veteran of 13 Major League seasons, Pena is a career .233/.348/.465 hitter with 285 big league home runs. Known for his prolific home runs and strikeouts, Pena homered 28 or more times in five consecutive seasons from 2007-11, including a 46-homer campaign for the 2007 Rays. He also struck out in nearly 27 percent of his plate appearances during that time, though some of that swing-and-miss negative is erased by his power and a career 13.9 percent walk rate.
Pena has struggled over his past two big league stints, slashing .201/.327/.351, striking out in nearly 30 percent of his plate appearances. He adds some first base depth for the Rangers, who have lost Prince Fielder to the season due to a neck injury and have relied heavily on Mitch Moreland but received just a .246/.297/.347 slash line despite heavily platooning him. To make matters worse, Moreland himself now could be sidelined for the year with an ankle issue as well.
For Pena, this marks a return to the organization that selected him with the No. 10 overall pick in the 1998 draft. He appeared in just 22 games with the Rangers before being traded to the A’s. With Texas, he batted a strong .258/.361/.500 as a 23-year-old in 2001.