Now 37, Penny is rather far removed from productivity at the MLB level. Indeed, you could argue that his last full and fully effective season came way back in 2007 with the Dodgers, when he posted a career-low 3.03 ERA over a career-high 208 frames.
To that point — his age-29 season — the righty had provided 1,365 2/3 innings of 3.90 ERA pitching in extended stints with the Marlins and Dodgers. Since, he’s only appeared in 559 1/3 MLB innings and owns a composite 5.23 ERA, with his strikeout rate falling to less than five batters per nine.
Penny isn’t alone in battling the effects of age and injury, of course, and there’s a lot to commend about his willingness to keep returning to the hill — even when it’s in the minors. After leaving Los Angeles, Penny bounced from the Red Sox to the Giants, then on to the Cardinals for an injury-shortened run.
A stop in Japan did not work out as hoped, and Penny wasn’t effective in a relief role upon returning to San Francisco. He sat out all of 2013 before returning to the Marlins the following year though he couldn’t replicate a solid minor league showing at the MLB level. Last year, Penny made 24 starts at Triple-A for the White Sox, working to a 4.46 ERA with 5.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.
Cracking the Toronto roster always seemed a longshot, but this spring hadn’t gone as Penny probably hoped after entering camp as one of several bounceback veterans (among them Gavin Floyd, Roberto Hernandez, Wade LeBlanc, Randy Choate, David Aardsma, and Rafael Soriano, who is reportedly also retiring). He’s received a legitimate look — his seven frames is third-most in the organization — but the results haven’t been there. Penny has surrendered eight earned runs on 12 hits and four walks, with just three strikeouts on his ledger.
All said, it’s been a nice run for Penny, who ended up appearing in 14 MLB seasons and racked up 26.8 fWAR — most of it during his prime years with the Marlins and Dodgers. Penny played a major role on the then-Florida Marlins’ 2003 championship squad, taking the ball every fifth day during the regular season and logging two World Series wins. Los Angeles ultimately acquired him along with Hee-Seop Choi and Bill Murphy in a 2004 deadline deal that sent Juan Encarnacion, Paul Lo Duca, and Guillermo Mota to the Fish.
MLBTR wishes Penny the best of luck moving forward.