The Houston Astros got rid of one Carlos during this past season, and they have now replaced him with another. As the Astros moved toward rebuilding, they traded away Carlos Lee. Yesterday, they signed another veteran first baseman, Carlos Pena.
According to Brian T. Smith of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros signed a one-year deal worth $2.9 million. Smith says the contract will also have about $1.4 million in performance-based incentives. The Astros will likely use Pena as a designated hitter.
Houston had been looking for their first designated hitter after moving to the American League at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Pena can serve as that or as the team's first baseman. He is veteran hitter who will likely provide the Astros with some power in the middle of their lineup.
Despite his low price tag and his age, Pena has been able to remain relatively healthy. He played in 160 games this past season with the Tampa Bay Rays. Before that, Pena played in 153 games for the Chicago Cubs. Earlier in his career, Pena did battle injuries. Those may come back to bite him and the Astros, but right now there's no reason to believe Pena will be anything but durable.
In his career, Pena is a .234/.350/.472 hitter. He hit just .197 last season, but he still managed a .330 OBP. Pena also hit 19 home runs for the Rays. He has 277 home runs in 12 Major League seasons.
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