Carlos Pena Rumors

AL East Notes: Yankees, O’Day, Pena, Snell

Though many Yankees fans have grown weary of Stephen Drew‘s low batting average at second base (and “grown weary” is admittedly an understatement), Chad Jennings of the Journal News offers a well-reasoned explanation for the team’s decision to stick with Drew and Brendan Ryan over the likes of Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela. Jennings notes Refsnyder’s poor second half at Triple-A and questionable glovework and also points to the fact that Ryan has been an ideal platoon-mate at second base, providing good defense and a hefty .286/.333/.500 batting line against lefties this year. Jennings dispels several oft-used myths, such as the Yankees’ reluctance to rely on young talent or the claim that only manager Joe Girardi would continue relying on a struggling veteran such as Drew.

A few more notes from the AL East…

  • Darren O’Day‘s time with the Orioles is quite possibly winding down, writes Roch Kubatko of Despite being a bit older than typical free agents — he’s 32 and will pitch next season at 33 — O’Day is primed to cash in on a nice free-agent deal due to his recent string of dominant seasons. Manager Buck Showalter offered high praise for the sidearming setup man: “Darren, there’s no doubt he’s the leader of that bullpen,” said Showalter. The manager noted O’Day’s role in keeping the bullpen a tight-knit unit, noting that his shoes would be tough to fill if he ultimately signs elsewhere upon hitting the open market.
  • Carlos Pena is humbled and grateful for the opportunity to sign a contract and retire as a member of the Rays organization, he tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times“As much as the Rays have meant to me, for me to even believe that I meant the same to the Rays as well, I couldn’t be more grateful,” said Pena. “This is a dream come true to end my career in such a way, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
  • Rays top prospect Blake Snell was disappointed not to be called up in September, writes Topkin in a separate column, but the left-hander nonetheless has hopes of making the team out of Spring Training in 2015. Snell, 22, hadn’t pitched above A-ball heading into the season but broke out with an absurd 1.61 ERA, 10.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 134 innings between High-A, Double-A and Triple-A. Baseball America named Snell its minor league player of the year as a result of the strong performance. Snell could very well have a chance at cracking the roster next season, especially considering the fact that Topkin has recently said it seems likely that Tampa Bay will deal from its surplus of rotation options this offseason.
  • Baseball America’s Matt Eddy examines Snell’s historic minor league season, noting that he’s tied for the second-lowest composite ERA for a starter since 2003, trailing only Justin Verlander. Of the 10 pitchers to have posted a composite 1.60 ERA or better across multiple minor league levels, Snell is the only one who reached Triple-A in his dominant season; the others spread their dominance across lower levels. Snell’s season, Eddy writes, was one of the best in recent minor league history.

Carlos Pena To Sign Contract To Retire As Member Of Rays

The Rays will sign first baseman Carlos Pena to a contract in order to allow him to retire as a member of the organization, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports on Twitter. The 37-year-old Dominican native has not played with any organization this year.

Though he ultimately made many stops along the way in his 14 big league seasons, Pena enjoyed his longest and most successful stint in Tampa Bay. After originally signing there as a minor league free agent, Pena put up a monster 2007 season in which he swatted 46 home runs and carried a 1.037 OPS. He inked a three-year, $24.25MM extension thereafter.

Though he never quite reached that peak again, Pena put up a .230/.360/.483 slash over his five years with the Rays, the last of which came after a one-year stop with the Cubs. He was also a significant contributor to the club’s 2008 and 2010 playoff teams, compiling a .269/.388/.522 batting line with four home runs in his 80 post-season plate appearances.

Before heading to Tampa Bay, Pena spent an extended stretch with the Tigers. Though he was an above-average hitter, he didn’t consistently produce there as he did later. Pena also made a stop in Chicago, as noted above, and had short tenures with the Rangers, Royals, Red Sox, Astros, and Athletics. He had an unsuccessful late-season run last year in Texas, and it appears as if that will represent his final work at the MLB level.

While Pena was born in the Dominican Republic, he played high school and college ball in the United States, making him draft-eligible. He was taken with the tenth pick of the 1998 draft by the Rangers and soon became one of the game’s highest-rated prospects. But Pena was dealt twice in 2002, not long after reaching the majors, first heading to Oakland and then on to Detroit (as portrayed in the Moneyball book and film).

It took some time until Pena made good on his full promise, but he certainly did that for the Rays. MLBTR offers its congratulations on an outstanding career, and wishes him the best as he moves on to other pursuits.

Carlos Pena Joins MLB Network

The MLB Network announced today that veteran first baseman Carlos Pena will join its team as a studio analyst. While the release doesn’t make a specific mention that Pena has officially retired, it does begin with the phrase, “…after a 14-year career…” which of course suggests that the slugger’s playing career is coming to a close.

Pena, 36, has a lifetime .232./.346/.462 batting line with 286 homers and 818 RBIs in 5893 Major League plate appearances. Pena’s best seasons came with the Rays from 2007-09, during which time he batted .252/.382/.553 with 116 homers. His single-season homer totals in that time were 46, 31 and 39, and he nabbed a pair of ninth-place MVP finishes to go along with a Gold Glove award, a Silver Slugger award and the lone All-Star nod of his career.

Pena is widely respected and has a reputation for being a well-liked teammate, and some reporters who covered him in his playing days have already expressed that they feel his articulate nature will make him a good TV personality. If his playing days are done, he’ll hang it up having earned just over $48MM in a career that Baseball-Reference rated at 25 wins above replacement. MLBTR wishes Pena the best of luck in the next phase of his career.

Minor Moves: Pena, Palmer, Whelan, Adamson, Buckner, Cunningham

Here are Sunday’s minor moves from around MLB, updates first:

  • The Rangers have released veteran first baseman Carlos Pena from their Triple-A roster, per the PCL transactions page. Pena struggled at the major league level for Texas with a .136/.190/.237 line in 63 plate appearances. He performed better during his month at Triple-A with a .297/.350/.500 line in 80 plate appearances. No word on why the club cut ties with Pena.
  • The Mariners have released right-handed pitcher Matt Palmer from the Triple-A Rainiers, according to the PCL transactions page. The 35-year-old pitched to a 5.42 ERA for the Rainiers over 73 innings. He last appeared in the majors with the Padres in 2012. Angels fans may remember him from his 2009 season, when he won 11 games and posted a 3.93 ERA over 121 innings.
  • Resolving an earlier bit of news, the Tigers have outrighted the contract of right-handed pitcher Kevin Whelan to Triple-A. The 30-year-old appeared once for the big league club and allowed two runs over one and one-third innings. Prior to his call up, he served as the closer for the Mud Hens, where he posted a 2.45 ERA, 10.93 K/9, and 4.02 BB/9. Presumably, he will return to that role. The team announced the move on Twitter.
  • Padres minor league outfielder Corey Adamson has retired to pursue a career in Australian rules football, reports Jeff Sanders of U-T San Diego. The 22-year-old, six-year pro was hitting .257/.340/.399 in 348 plate appearances at the High-A level.
  • The Brewers have signed right-hander Billy Buckner to a minor league contract, tweets Chris Cotillo of The 30-year-old was released two weeks ago by the Padres. Buckner made one spot start for San Diego this season allowing three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings and, in 15 appearances (14 starts) for Triple-A El Paso, has posted a 5.80 ERA, 6.2 K/9, and 4.7 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings.
  • Cotillo also tweets the Diamondbacks have released outfielder Aaron Cunningham from their Triple-A affiliate. The 27-year-old, who signed a minor league deal with Arizona in March, slashed .255/.342/.346 in 281 plate appearances for Reno. Cunningham hasn’t appeared in a MLB game since 2012 when he hit .175/.245/.247 for the Indians in 109 plate appearances.
  • Per MLBTR’s DFA Tracker, there are four players in DFA limbo: Corey Brown (Red Sox), Charlie Leesman (White Sox), Matt Hague (Pirates), and Wirfin Obispo (Pirates).

Brad Johnson contributed to this post.

Minor Moves: Pena, Torrealba, Volstad, Berg, Enright, Gimenez, Wells, Fellhauer

It has been a busy day as the league returns to action out of the All-Star break. Here are today’s minor moves from around baseball …

  • First baseman Carlos Pena has accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports on Twitter. Pena, 36, was designated for assignment yesterday after a rough start to his tenure in Texas.
  • Veteran backstop Yorvit Torrealba has requested and been given his release from the Cubs,’s Carrie Muskat reports on Twitter. The 35-year-old has a .256/.315/.379 career MLB triple-slash over 13 seasons of work. He has only seen time at the Cubs’ rookie-league affiliate this year since signing last month.
  • The Angels have signed hurler Chris Volstad to a minor league deal, according to the MLB transactions page. Volstad, a towering righty, has a 4.94 ERA over parts of six MLB seasons, working mostly as a starter until a stint last season with the Rockies. He had been pitching for the Korean Doosan Bears this season, working to a 6.21 ERA over 87 frames with just 3.3 K/9 and 3.8 BB/9.
  • Free agent righty Jeremy Berg has signed a minor league pact with the Cardinals, also via the MLB transactions page. Berg, 28, has yet to pitch in the big leagues and owns a 4.43 ERA in 256 innings at the Triple-A level. He had spent his entire career in the Angels organization.
  • The Phillies released right-hander Barry Enright today, according to the International League transactions page. The 28-year-old has struggled mightily in his most recent stints at the major league level, and carries a 5.58 ERA through 101 2/3 Triple-A innings this season with 5.7 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9.
  • The Brewers have inked catcher Hector Gimenez to a minor league deal and assigned him to Double-A Huntsville, reports Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (on Twitter). The 31-year-old Gimenez spent some time as the White Sox’ backup catcher in 2013 but posted just a .191/.275/.338 batting line in 80 trips to the dish. He’s a lifetime .216/.280/.330 hitter in 100 big league plate appearances and is a veteran of 12 minor league seasons. He’ll provide some minor league catching depth for Milwaukee.
  • Outfielder Casper Wells has signed with the independent Atlantic League’s Bridgeport Bluefish, the club announced on its web site. Once a nice fourth outfielder for the Mariners, Wells’ stock has dropped after hitting just .126/.186/.147 for the White Sox, A’s and Phillies in 2013. He began the year with the Cubs’ Triple-A affiliate but batted just .197/.290/.230 in 69 PA with Iowa before being released.
  • The Brewers have also acquired outfielder Josh Fellhauer from the Reds in exchange for cash considerations, the team’s player development department announced (on Twitter). A former seventh-round pick, the 26-year-old Fellhauer was hitting .239/.338/.313 in 155 PA between Double-A and Triple-A this season. He’ll also report to Double-A Huntsville with the Brewers.

Rangers Designate Carlos Pena For Assignment

The Rangers announced that they have designated first baseman Carlos Pena for assignment. That move, along with yesterday’s trade of Jason Frasor to the Royals, clears 40-man and 25-man roster spots for Geovany Soto and J.P. Arencibia — both of whom will be added to the big league roster.

The veteran Pena batted .136/.190/.237 in 63 plate appearances for Texas after having his contract selected from Triple-A Round Rock. The 36-year-old had signed a minor league deal with the Rangers, who have lost first basemen Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland for the season due to injuries.

Soto will be activated from the 60-day disabled list and make his season debut for the Rangers sometime in the team’s upcoming three-game series against the Blue Jays. Arencibia, meanwhile, is a bit of an interesting story. The 28-year-old struggled tremendously with the Rangers earlier this season and was outrighted off the 40-man back in May after clearing waivers. However, he’s now picked up some experience at first base with Round Rock, and as Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter), that’s where the Rangers will use him this time around.

Rangers Sign Carlos Pena

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.

Carlos Pena, Chad Tracy Granted Release

The Angels announced that Carlos Pena and Chad Tracy have been granted their unconditional release.  Earlier today, Yorvit Torrealba opted out of his deal to become a free agent rather than stay with the Halos.  Today was the deadline for the club to add all three to the 40-man roster.

Pena, a 13-year MLB veteran, was an everyday player until last season.  Spending most of 2013 with the Astros, Pena slashed .207/.321/.346 in 328 plate appearances.  As that line would indicate, Pena has hung his hat on his ability to get on base via the walk, which he has done at about twice the league-average rate throughout his career.  Once a major power threat – he hit 172 home runs between 2007 and 2011 – Pena's HR/FB rate has dropped from a peak of 29.1% down to around the 15% level in recent seasons.  Pena, who signed with the Angels in late January, does not plan on retiring because "I love the way it feels when you square up a ball, when you make a good play in the field" (per's Alden Gonzalez on Twitter).

Even though Tracy batted just .202/.243/.326 in 136 plate appearances with the Nationals in a pinch-hitting role last season, he batted .269/.343/.441 in a similar role in 2012.  Tracy broke through with an outstanding sophomore campaign with the Diamondbacks in 2005 when he belted 27 homers and slashed .308/.359/.553.  However, he's been unable to replicate that form in his subsequent big league seasons.

Angels To Sign Brennan Boesch, Carlos Pena

WEDNESDAY: Boesch would earn $800K if he makes the MLB roster, while Pena would make $1MM.

TUESDAY: The Angels have reached agreement on minor league deals with outfielder Brennan Boesch and first baseman Carlos Pena, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). Boesch, 28, is represented by CAA Sports, while the 35-year-old Pena is a client of the Boras Corporation. Both deals include Spring Training invites, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register.

Boesch saw only 53 MLB plate appearances last year, posting a .275/.302/.529 line, before he was released by the Yankees in July. The Yanks had signed Boesch to a $1.5MM deal after he was let go by the Tigers, for whom he had been a regular between 2010-12. Over that stretch, Boesch posted a .259/.315/.414 triple-slash with 42 home runs and 18 stolen bases in 1,487 plate appearances. With just over three years of MLB service to his name, Boesch comes with team control beyond the 2014 season.

Pena, a 13-year MLB veteran, was an everyday player until last season. Spending most of 2013 with the Astros, Pena slashed .207/.321/.346 in 328 plate appearances. As that line would indicate, Pena has hung his hat on his ability to get on base via the walk, which he has done at about twice the league-average rate throughout his career. Once a major power threat — he hit 172 home runs between 2007 and 2011 — Pena's HR/FB rate has dropped from a peak of 29.1% down to around the 15% level in recent seasons.

Royals To Sign Carlos Pena

The Royals have agreed to terms on a minor league deal with first baseman Carlos Pena, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star (Twitter link). Pena will be assigned to Triple-A Omaha.

The 35-year-old Pena hit .209/.324/.350 in 325 plate appearances for the Astros this season after signing a one-year, $2.9MM contract with Houston in the offseason. He was designated for assignment and released in  late July. In parts of 13 Major League seasons, Pena is a .233/.348/.465 hitter with 285 home runs. Pena doesn't appear to have an starting spot on the team's roster, given the presence of Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler, but he could serve as a veteran bench bat down the stretch.