Posts tagged ‘Carlos Pena’

Fixing the Rays Need for Power

Andruw JonesRussell Branyan

The Tampa Bay Rays are going to look like a completely different team than the one that won the AL East in 2010.  Long gone are Carl Crawford, Matt Garza, Carlos Pena, Jason Bartlett, and a slew of relievers.  The Rays have already begun to rebuild the bullpen, they had Reid Brignac ready to take over at shortstop, and Jeremy Hellickson more than ready to take a rotation spot.

Replacing Crawford is the toughest task.  Crawford was tied for 3rd in the AL with 6.9 fWAR.  That will not be matched by a leftfield mix of Matt Joyce, Desmond Jennings, and Sam Fuld.

The Rays will more than likely be without Rafael Soriano and Grant Balfour at the back of the bullpen.  Soriano’s price tag is too high and I suspect Balfour’s is as well, but more on that in a moment.

The Rays have major holes at 1B, DH (although I think full-time DHs shrink a roster), and the back of the bullpen, and that is without calling leftfield a major hole at the moment.  So what do the Rays need to do?  I have a plan.

My first order of business would be to sign Russell Branyan. I have already supplied enough evidence to prove that Branyan is highly undervalued. It’s time someone took advantage of that and why not the Rays?  The misconception that Branyan is a DH is far off.  



January 11, 2011 at 11:58 am 5 comments

Branyan is Way Undervalued

Russell Branyan

It seems tha tevery time I read an article or see a rumor of a team that is
looking for a firstbaseman it centers around three free agents:  Derek Lee, Adam LaRoche, and Jorge Cantu. Lee wants $8M-$10M, LaRoche apparently has options to weigh and the Orioles are all over him. It is rare, if ever, that I hear the name Russell Branyan mentioned. Heck, even Troy Glaus gets a mention or two. Here is a quick comparison of Branyan and the guys mentioned above over the past three seasons:  (more…)

December 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm 7 comments

Pena to Cubs Makes Sense for Both

Carlos Pena

The Chicago Cubs have signed firstbaseman Carlos Pena to a one year deal worth $10M.  Pena, coming off his worst season as a Ray, was worth only 1 Win Above Replacement (fWAR) last year, or, roughly, $4M.  Pena has been in a steady decline phase since his breakout year in Tampa Bay in 2007.  Take a look:

 Year  fWAR  AVG  OBP  SLG   OPS+   BB%   wOBA 
 2007  6.2  .282  .411  .627   172  16.8  .430
 2008  4.0  .247  .377  .494  129  15.8  .374
 2009  2.8  .227  .356  .537  133  15.3  .374
 2010  1.0  .196  .325  .407  102  14.9  .326

That is some serious decline in every category from 2007-2010.  So, why did the Cubs give Pena a $10M deal?  I have a few reasons why.

One reason is that the combination of Wrigley Field, getting out of the AL East, and hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo can help Pena get his bat back on track.

Another reason is that the Cubs were targeting a good defensive firstbaseman.  Pena fits the mold.  The addition of Pena will help rangy youngster Starlin Castro turn more of his errant throws into outs.

The last reason is that Pena has a ton of “intangible” value thanks to his clubhouse leadership and positive demeanor both on the field and off.

The Cubs still have holes all over their roster.  The addition of Pena does not make them playoff favorites in 2011 but it does give the Cubs a player that will help the younger players mature, give Pena the best opportunity to find his swing, and hopefully give the Cubs a draft pick or two when/if Pena leaves via free agency after the 2011 season.

Although $10M is a risk, I believe we will see a version of Carlos Pena that will justify his 2011 contract and allow him to hit the market next offseason with even better hopes of a multi-year deal, making this deal a win-win for him and the Cubs.

December 8, 2010 at 5:04 pm 1 comment

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