The Blue Jays have announced that they’ve acquired Diamondbacks infielder Cliff Pennington and cash for minor league shortstop Dawel Lugo. The Diamondbacks have also announced that they’ve selected the contract of infielder/outfielder Jamie Romak, as we reported earlier today.
The switch-hitting Pennington batted a meager .237/.318/.281 in 157 plate appearances in Arizona, although he can play both middle infield positions and has a strong defensive track record at shortstop. He has four homers total in the last three seasons and doesn’t usually hit for high averages, although he does draw his share of walks. The Blue Jays currently have another light-hitting infielder, Munenori Kawasaki, backing up Troy Tulowitzki at shortstop, although Kawasaki can be optioned and probably isn’t quite as good as Pennington defensively. The Blue Jays are also missing second baseman Devon Travis, who’s dealing with a shoulder injury. Ryan Goins is their current starter at second.
Before the trade deadline, Pennington had been connected to the Pirates and Nationals. That the Blue Jays are acquiring him now means that, at the very least, all of the NL and most of the AL passed on him on the waiver wire, but perhaps that’s not surprising given his $3.275MM salary. He is eligible for free agency this winter. The 31-year-old has a career .248/.315/.346 line in parts of eight seasons in Oakland and Arizona.
The 20-year-old Lugo has hit just .257/.287/.343 in 408 plate appearances split between Class A Lansing and Class A+ Dunedin this season, although he’s been a bit young for both levels. MLB.com ranked him the Blue Jays’ 12th-best prospect, writing that he was one of the best hitters available on the international market in 2011 (when the Jays signed him for $1.3MM out of the Dominican Republic) but that he already had below-average speed and might end up at third base in the long term.
SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo first to tweet that the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks had made a deal involving Pennington. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca tweeted that the Blue Jays would receive cash in the deal and the that the Diamondbacks would receive a minor leaguer.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.