Carlos Pena is coming back to Tampa. He and the Rays have reportedly agreed to a one-year, $7.25 million deal. And while this may strike some fear in the hearts of Red Sox Nation, I think the reign of Carlos the Powerful is done.
While Pena is good with the glove, and can still hit a few home runs, his bat isn't nearly as mighty as it once was. Go take a look at his stats. He hit .227, .196 and .225 respectively over the past three seasons, but had On-Base Percentages of .356, .325 and .357 over the same span, thanks to all the walks.
Last season, despite only logging 493 at-bats, Pena was walked 101 times. That was the fifth highest in the league. And he draws those walks mostly because teams don't want to give him anything to hit, despite the fact that he hasn't cracked 30 home runs in either of the past two seasons. In fact, his slugging percentage has only been above .600 once in his career (2007) while it's been in the .400's in three of the past four seasons.
He's not a guy you want to throw meatballs to, but he's also not Barry Bonds. In his last three years in Tampa, the Sox have walked Pena 36 times to avoid pitching to him. They also walked him 3 times in his 11 at-bats with the Cubs last season. I'm calling for an end to this trend.
So welcome to Tampa, Carlos. Congrats on the absurd number of dollars you're getting. But I think it's time you've earned first base.