Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 20, 2009

Some heads-up work by the Mets signing Wily Mo Pena to a minor league deal. Obviously, guys who get cut by the Nationals are not as a general matter the best investments, and Pena's .205/.243/.267 line last season was pretty horrific. Still, Pena is 27 years old, he slugged .504 over a three year period from 2004-06, and he's righthanded and has a career batting line of .277/.339/.457 against lefthanded pitching; for your cheap outfield pickups, at least that gives him some specific skills to fall back on, and if he starts hitting again he'd be a logical guy to step up if a replacement is needed for Sheffield or Tatis. (Interestingly, Pena for his career has a slightly higher slugging percentage on the road despite playing in Boston and Cinicnnati, but has a career batting average 15 points higher at home and a career OBP 25 points higher). If not, well, that's why it's a minor league contract.

Posted by Baseball Crank at 8:15 PM | Baseball 2009 | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)

I seem to recall plenty of dirt tossed on the coffin of another Pena's career—Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena.

Oakland sent him to Detroit...he was released...picked up by Boston...released...picked up by New York...released...etc.

Minor League contracts are chump change to see if a guy with Wily Mo's upside can turn it around...

Posted by: Mr Furious at April 21, 2009 1:03 AM

We'll see, but I get the impression that Wily Mo is not quite the man that Carlos Pena is, in the outside-baseball sense. The lad has some power, however.

Posted by: DD at April 21, 2009 7:20 AM

Guy has good power in 2004/05. Falls off a cliff in 2007/08. What ever could have happened?

Posted by: A.S. at April 21, 2009 10:43 AM

He was hurt all last year. He's an eminently likeable guy. He's sort of fun to watch play the outfield in a Bo Jackson kind of way. His career got short circuited by a bad contract and he never got to develop properly. When the Sox got him I thought he would be the perfect back-up outfielder and that he would be streaky enough to go on on 10 HRs in 18 games kinds of binges. Never happened. He's one of those guys you root for even if he doesn't play for your team. I hope old Wily Mo can eventually bring the Pena!

Posted by: jim at April 21, 2009 11:44 AM

Crank, I totally agree with your analysis of the apparent wisdom of the signing, but after watching WMP not coming close to hitting any breaking pitch with the Sox and the Nats, I'm fairly sure the Mets will get nothing from him.

Posted by: Magrooder at April 21, 2009 9:53 PM

Wily Mo is a great and fun guy to have on a team that goes 73-89, hits 200 HRs, and loses a lot of 10-7 games. It makes those late August games a lot more interesting when he hits a 500 foot home run and completely botches three fly balls. (I'm a Reds' fan. We had a lot of those seasons during the Wily Mo era.) I'm not sure you want him on a contending team. He's too flawed. But, as a fifth OF, pinch hitter extraordinaire, perhaps.

Posted by: per14 at April 22, 2009 3:52 PM
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