It’s been nearly two years since Wily Mo Pena’s name has come up at MLBTR, but the outfielder has agreed to a minor league pact with the Indians that will pay him $700K if he cracks the Major League roster, according to FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). Now 35 years of age, Pena hasn’t appeared in the Majors since 2011. As a young slugger with the Reds, Pena belted 26 homers back in 2004 and was traded to the Red Sox a year later in the deal that sent right-hander Bronson Arroyo to Cincinnati. Pena never demonstrated enough ability to make contact or draw walks to carve out consistent playing time in Boston, though, and he ultimately found the most success of his career overseas in Japan. Pena spent the 2012-15 seasons in Nippon Professional Baseball, and while he struggled in 2013, he OPSed better than .800 in each of the three other campaigns and hit a combined 71 homers in his Japanese career.
Here are the rest of the day’s minor moves from around baseball…
- The Braves announced that slugging outfielder Adam Walker, who was designated for assignment last week, has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Gwinnett. That marks the end of a whirlwind winter for Walker, who was placed on outright waivers by the Twins in November and then bounced from Minnesota, to Milwaukee, to Baltimore, to Atlanta on waivers. He’ll now remain with the Braves organization but will not occupy a spot on the 40-man roster. Atlanta did not announce whether Walker will receive an invite to Major League Spring Training, but he’s likely to open the season in Triple-A. The former third-round pick has displayed enormous power in the Twins’ minor league system in recent years but also posted prodigious strikeout totals. He’s limited to left field and possibly first base from a defensive standpoint, so he’ll need to curb the strikeout tendencies to give himself a chance to stick on a big league roster.
- Atlanta also inked lefty Michael Kirkman to a minors pact, tweets Heyman. Kirkman, who will make $600K if he cracks the roster, has a 5.28 ERA in 109 Major League innings and most recently appeared with the Padres and Brewers in 2016 (though he totaled just 2 1/3 innings). Kirkman has consistently demonstrated an ability to miss bats in both the Majors and minors but has also struggled with control.
- Southpaw Nick Hagadone has joined the Mariners on a minor-league pact, as Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times first reported on Twitter. The former Indians left-hander hasn’t pitched since 2015 due to an elbow fracture that required surgical repair. Hagadone struck up a minor league deal with Atlanta last winter but had the contract voided due to concerns in his physical. He didn’t pitch at all in 2016 but will aim to prove he’s healthy enough for a big league look with Seattle in 2017. Hagadone, 31, posted a 3.55 ERA with a 55-to-18 K/BB ratio in 50 2/3 innings with Cleveland from 2014-15 and was once well-regarded enough as a prospect to be ranked in the Top 100 of both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. He was also one of three pieces sent from the Red Sox to the Indians in the 2009 Victor Martinez swap.
- The Yankees announced their invitations to Major League Spring Training today, and the list includes infielder Donovan Solano and right-hander Nick Rumbelow, each of whom re-signed to a minor league deal. (Others on the list have already been noted at MLBTR in recent months.) Solano, 29, hit .227/.261/.455 with a homer and a pair of doubles in 23 plate appearances with the Yankees last season. Capable of playing second base, shortstop and third base, Solano also slashed .257/.307/.328 over the life of 1145 plate appearances across parts of four seasons with the Marlins prior to his time with the Yankees. As for Rumbelow, the 25-year-old had Tommy John surgery last season. He’d made his Major League debut in 2015 and tossed 15 2/3 innings of 4.02 ERA ball as a followup to 52 2/3 innings with a 4.27 ERA in Triple-A. Rumbelow has averaged better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings in the minors while also walking just 2.4 batters per nine frames.