Tag: Carlos Pena

Carlos Pena Homers, Drives in 3 out of Leadoff Spot in Tampa Bay Rays Win

Well, Joe Maddon has struck again.

Maddon is definitely known for some, well, different lineup decisions—catcher John Jaso leading off in previous seasons is a good example.

Tuesday night’s contest featured an even more absurd move, as Maddon penciled in Carlos Pena‘s name in the No. 1 spot in the order.

Needless to say, I was confused.

Why would Maddon put his best run-producer in the leadoff spot of the order?

Well, I quickly learned why, as Pena followed up the decision by having quite a nice game.

Entering play on Tuesday, Pena was hitting just .116 in May and in the midst of an 0-for-18 slump. He snapped that slide with a home run in the fourth inning off Blue Jays‘ starter Drew Hutchison that traveled an estimated 452 feet.

The home run was a three-run shot and part of a five-run fourth inning for the Rays.

Pena finished the game 2-for-5 with the home run and three RBI, raising his season average to .215.

Maddon seems to always push the right buttons with his ballclub, and the Rays’ record shows it. At 26-18, they’re in good shape to make another run at the playoffs.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Carlos Pena Leading off Monday for Tampa Bay Rays Against Toronto Blue Jays

Well, this is interesting. Check out Monday night’s Tampa Bay Rays‘ lineup:



Talk about an interesting strategy by Rays manager Joe Maddon.

Carlos Pena, your prototypical cleanup hitter, will be leading off in Monday’s night’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Pena currently does sport a .353 OBP, but even that is not enough to warrant throwing him into the No. 1 spot in the order.

Plenty of other guys in that lineup are capable of leading off—B.J. Upton, Elliot Johnson, even Ben Zobrist—but putting your primary power threat in the top spot of the order is a head-scratcher to say the least.

Then again, Maddon is one of the best managers in baseball.

He has been named AL Manager of the Year twice—2008 and 2011—so there’s no denying his baseball intelligence.

I’m curious to see how this move pans out, as I’m sure many of you are as well.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Perception Is the Toronto Blue Jays’ Biggest Flaw

Tampa Bay just signed slugging first baseman Carlos Pena to a one-year contract for $7.25 million. In the eyes of Jays fans, this is another transaction that will make people ask, “why not Toronto?”

Alex Anthopoulos has been running the club for approximately 2.5 years and for the first time is beginning to hear the rumblings of impatient fans.

All teams in the AL East have made significant improvements. The Yankees just traded for a possible No. 1 starter in Michael Pineda. They also gave up a future franchise superstar in Jesus Montero. The Red Sox, still rife with a powerhouse lineup, lost their All-Star closer, Jonathan Papelbon, but replaced him by signing Oakland Athletics closer Andrew Bailey.

The Jays did make some waves by trading for Sergio Santos in exchange for Nestor Molina and added journeyman reliever Darren Oliver. They also brought back reliable late-inning reliever Jason Frasor. These transactions will strengthen the Jays’ already solid ‘pen. Except perception is reality, and right now the reality in Toronto is that the Jays have not done enough to make a difference.

With one of the premier sluggers in Jose Bautista leading the way as team captain and Ricky Romero, the Jays’ ace, as the face of the franchise, this team is relying on the promise and talent of multiple players to lead it back to the playoffs. Brandon Morrow, Brett Cecil, Colby Rasmus, J.P. Arencibia, Eric Thames and Adam Lind will be key.

At baseball’s winter meetings, the buzz surrounding Yu Darvish was that the Jays were serious contenders in signing him. It turned out they lost out to the Texas Rangers and their $51.7 million bid. At the same time, the AL West has turned into a mirror image of the East with the Angels and Rangers throwing around substantial amounts of money. Albert Pujols ($254 million) and C.J. Wilson ($77.5 million) joining the Angels.

Perception is reality and right now the status quo is average and fourth place.

With the big three in the AL East wheeling and dealing, it does become frustrating to the fans and viewers at home when they can almost guarantee where this team will finish next season. I, for one, feel that way. I wrote many times last year that Toronto was in a position to contend for the wild-card spot, but things changed dramatically and the hope for that has been washed away.

I don’t say this as a fan who is angry that the hometown team hasn’t made the playoffs in almost 20 years. It comes from someone who knows baseball and gets frustrated when I read something like this from the National Post.

“But if you want to be impatient, here’s what you need to be impatient with. Rogers Communications, the Jays owner, has clearly given this team specific payroll parameters, and they won’t move much until the revenues move first, and Anthopoulos can’t do much to control either one. All he can do is this: he can scrimp and save and wheedle his way to a team so good that when he goes to his bosses and asks for the money to make a good team a contender, he has pushed the parameters of what Rogers will give. That’s it.”

Instead of getting annoyed and frustrated with the state of your team, maybe there is nothing to get upset about. Baseball is a business, right? And if a business is not making any money, you cut costs until you create the right formula.

Perception is reality. In this case, it’s dead on.

Devon is the founder of The GM’s Perspective

Devon is a former professional baseball player with the River City Rascals & Gateway Grizzlies, and is now an independent scout.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Tampa Bay Rays Make Bold Move, Bring Back Carlos Pena

The Rays continued their January search for offense yesterday, signing former Rays slugger Carlos Pena. Tampa Bay’s search for a first baseman is finally over, and the Rays have to be satisfied with the move.

Pena, who played for the Rays from 2007-2010, agreed to a one-year contract worth $7.25 million.

The deal is great news for both the Rays and Pena. By signing Pena, the Rays filled in a big hole on their roster. They picked up a power-hitting and run-producing first baseman, which was exactly what they needed.

Pena seemed even more thrilled when learning he would reunite with the Rays this season. Pena texted “Sooooo excited … !!!!!” when first finding out about the news. The joyful reaction is not a surprise, as all of Pena’s best memories were during his four years in Tampa.

Pena, now 33 years old, smashed 144 homers and 407 RBIs with a career line of .238/.368/.516 during his four seasons for the Rays. During those seasons, Pena collected a Silver Slugger Award, a Gold Glove Award and an All Star selection. He also put up some impressive home-run totals, belting 46 dingers in 2007 and hitting a league-leading 39 round-trippers in 2009.

His big bat in the middle of the lineup and his slick fielding at first were both a huge part of the Rays’ success in past years.

When signing Pena, the Rays essentially picked the veteran first baseman over Casey Kotchman. Kotchman had a surprisingly successful season in 2011, batting a high .306 average while playing terrific defense. Did the Rays make the right choice by choosing Pena instead of Kotchman?

Considering the offensive numbers starting first basemen are expected to put out in the MLB, Pena is definitely the more valuable player. A healthy Carlos Pena pretty much guarantees you 25-plus homers and 80-plus RBIs.

Kotchman is a much better contact hitter who’ll probably strike out a lot less and hit for a higher average, but he simply is not capable of producing as many runs as Pena in the middle of the Rays’ lineup.

10 home runs with 48 RBIs and .306 average are numbers you more often see from a middle infielder, not a starting first baseman. I don’t want to take anything away from Kotchman’s excellent 2011 season, though, especially considering he didn’t enter the season with high expectations.

In conclusion, the Rays are doing a great job of continuing to add bats to their roster. Bringing back Pena is a real sigh of relief for Rays Republic after long winter months without a first baseman. It will be fun to watch Pena return to Tampa in 2012, where he is needed more than ever before.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

New York Yankees: Following Pitching Additions, Carlos Pena May Be Next

It’s been 24 hours since the Yankees made by far one of the biggest splashes of the winter.

From the moment the season ended until last night, they were extremely quiet and we all wondered if they would make a single move.

My gut was telling me that Yankees GM Brian Cashman was going “as is” for 2012.

And then, everything changed, and Cashman was just waiting for the right time.

First, he traded catcher Jesus Montero and pitcher Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners in exchange for right-handed starter Michael Pineda.

Pineda is a 22-year-old strikeout pitcher with a bright future ahead of him.

Just after that trade shook the baseball world, the Yankees then turned around and brought in former Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal.

Kuroda is an innings eater and very durable, plus he gives the Yankees a ton of depth in the rotation.

So both moves proved to be excellent ones for Cashman and the Yankees.


And apparently. they aren’t done now that the designated hitter spot is now open.

According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports and WFAN, the Yankees are now looking to pursue former Rays and Cubs first basemen Carlos Pena.

Pena only batted .225, but had 28 home runs and 80 RBI with the Cubs in 2011.

Pena was nearly a Yankee last year as he was claimed off waivers by the Yankees in late August, but the Cubs pulled Pena back off waivers.

With Pena now a free agent and the Cubs trading for Padres first basemen Anthony Rizzo, it looks like the Cubs are going in a different direction for their first-base spot and leaves Pena looking for work.

With Montero now in Seattle and Jorge Posada retiring, it gives the Yankees a spot to fill, which Pena could easily fit.

He can be the DH against right-handed batters, and they can put Alex Rodriguez there when the team plays left-handed pitching.

Or, they could put Pena at first when they want to give Mark Teixeira a day off or put him at the DH spot for a game or two.

This past summer, I was all for bringing Pena to the Bronx. Five months later, given Pena is a pull-hitter and his swing is made for the short porch of Yankee Stadium, I think he would be a great hitter for the Yankees to have.

Sure, he strikes out a lot. And yes, he does hit for a low average.

But he’s got a lot of power and has a great glove as a first baseman, so those qualities are hard to ignore in a lineup that can always use a little more pop in it.

If they do sign Pena, it’s probably going to be another one-year deal, just so they aren’t blocking the DH spot once A-Rod needs to go there full-time.

But bringing in Pena right now would be a good move for the Yankees, and if Pena is on Cashman’s radar, hopefully he’ll snag him up quickly.

Stay tuned, Yankees Universe.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

New York Yankees: With Jesus Montero Gone, Who Will DH in 2012?

The Yankees finally addressed their starting rotation yesterday, when they shipped top prospect Jesus Montero and right-hander Hector Noesi to the Mariners for All-Star right-hander Michael Pineda and 19-year-old right-hander Jose Campos.

The team also signed Dodgers free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year, $10 million deal as the rotation now looks significantly stronger and has plenty of depth with Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia likely headed to the bullpen.

However, in dealing Montero, the Yankees now have a hole at DH that will need to be addressed in the weeks to come leading up to spring training. Luckily, there is never a shortage of DH options for a team both internally and on the free-agent market.

Here is a look at who could step into that role for the Yankees in 2012.

Begin Slideshow

Tampa Bay Rays: All-Franchise Team

This is the sixth offering in my series of All-Franchise teams. Since Tampa Bay along with Florida are relatively new franchises, I have relaxed the rules a tad for the two. There is no minimum requirement as to tenure with the franchise. Unlike most franchises you will not find any current Hall of Famers on this list.

Begin Slideshow

MLB: Do Strikeout Rates Really Matter for Slow Sluggers?

Do strikeouts really matter with a big time slugger? Many fans groan and complain about the strikeout rates. Players like Carlos Pena, Adam Dunn, Dan Uggla and Mark Reynolds have made this statistic very visible year after year. It appears Mark Reynolds can out do himself for the single season strikeout record on an annual basis.

This article is going to focus on Dunn and Pena in specific. The main reason for this is to remove the variable of stolen bases and speed. The fact that Reynolds can steal 20 bases a season varies the results. The assumption of this article is that Dunn and Pena will rely on others to knock them in from first base.

I took a look at the benefits of these sluggers taking a walk versus striking out. In 648 plate appearances, Dunn walked 77 times. In 582 plate appearances Pena walked 87 times. How beneficial were these walks to the team? I went through the game logs and highlighted any games where one run made a difference in either a loss or a win. It turns out in 23 games won or loss by a run, Pena drew a walk which resulted in a run only four times. Two of these were wins. Out of 71 games where Pena drew a walk, only two wins were decided by the resulting run. On the other hand, Dunn scored after walking in eight of 18 games decided by one run. Only three of those eight games were victories. So Dunn drawing a walk only helped his team win three times. These figures show that walks do not make a significant impact on their team by the slugger.

Couple these figures with the fact that the two players likely to hit behind Pena this year combined to hit into 22 double plays. This year Dunn will have two players who combined to hit into 37 double plays, hitting behind him.

This article obviously does not adjust for the variable effects of players keeping a rally alive or killing it.

After everything is said and done, these statistics tell me walks don’t win games for these two slow moving sluggers. So the next time you feel like groaning about another strikeout, don’t. The free pass probably wouldn’t have mattered anyways.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

MLB Preview 2011: Looking at Starlin Castro and the Chicago Cubs "On Paper"

Heading into the start of last season, the Cubbies had the third largest payroll in baseball, but had just 75 wins by the end of the year to show for it.

During the offseason, Chicago went out and got a power pitcher and hitter in Matt Garza and Carlos Pena.  They also added Kerry Wood to provide punch in the back of the bullpen.

This is a squad that won 97 games just three years ago.  They’re capable of making a run, but inconsistency has hampered their chances the past two years.  Plus, the NL Central has improved dramatically since 2008.


Pitcher Rankings

Positional Rankings

2011 Atlanta Braves Preview

2011 Florida Marlins Preview

2011 New York Mets Preview

2011 Philadelphia Phillies Preview

2011 Washington Nationals Preview

Begin Slideshow

Albert Pujols The Next Alfonso Soriano? Cubs Prepare To Dish Out Maximum Funds

Chicago is spinning with excitement for next off-season, and they haven’t even been eliminated yet. Albert Pujols will become a free agent after the conclusion of this season, and some clubs have the rival right in their cross hairs. The Cardinals were unable to strike a deal with their current face of the organization and will now have to compete for his work. Pujols was reportedly seeking a 10-year, 300-million dollar contract and the Cardinals were unwilling to match it. Should the Cubs do what the Cardinals didn’t?

Think back a few years, Cub fans. Does this ring a bell? Middle-aged superstar searching for a lot of cash along with many years? Reminds me a little bit of a speedy, second baseman (now outfielder) named Alfonso Soriano. That deal hasn’t exactly panned out for the Friendly Confines. Should the Cubs take the risk again?

Obviously Soriano isn’t Pujols; they are extraordinarily different players and talents. Almost nothing between them is similar except that they both have the capability to hit for power. Currently, Pujols is regarded as the best player in baseball by many analysts, managers, fans, and fellow players. He is also 31. Assuming the Cubs, or any team, gives Pujols his desired contract, he would be 41 by the time it runs up. What are the odds that Pujols is still on the upturn at 31? His talents should, unless he actually is a machine like his nickname suggests, be dwindling.

If the Cubs can find a way to pay Pujols enough money per year for him to drop his contract to four or five years, then it would be an excellent deal. Get a veteran who can lead your team to long lost glory? Perfect. On top of that, you take away your in-division rival’s best player and soul of the team.  How much better could the Cubs have it?

It seems the Cubs are noticing their opportunity after they signed first basemen Carlos Pena to a one year, ten million dollar contract. There will be salary available and a gap at first base, Pujols’ position.

However, Chicago probably shouldn’t get too far ahead of itself. There are still 162 games left to be played before this is even an issue. The wait has begun and it’s going to be a long stretch before it’s over, and that’s exactly what all baseball fans will be doing; waiting.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Copyright © 1996-2010 Kuzul. All rights reserved.
iDream theme by Templates Next | Powered by WordPress