In need of a designated hitter with the move to the American League, Houston turns to Pena for $2.9 million with incentives.
Well, that was quick. Minutes after Jeff Luhnow and the Houston Astros announced they had a press conference scheduled for 2 p.m., we get info on what it will entail. Danny Knobler of CBS Sports says that the Astros have signed Carlos Pena on a one-year deal worth $2.9 million with $1.4 million in incentives.
Pena, who will be 35 in May of next year, has hit .206/.337/.408 in the last three season in 1,788 plate appearances. He has posted batting averages under the Mendoza line twice in the past three seasons, but has a knack for getting on base. That was one of the main reasons why he hit second for the Rays last year in 231 of his plate appearances, nearly a third of his total appearances that season.
Pena's power has fluctuated and declined rapidly last season. After posting isolated power averages of at least .200 for the previous five seasons, Pena saw his ISO fall to .150 last year. Since power is one of the tools that ebbs with age, there's a good chance it's not a statistical anomaly either.
What's also interesting about this signing is that Houston was said not to be interested in signing a veteran like Pena or Travis Hafner during the winter meetings. Now, if Pena is one half of a DH platoon with Nate Freiman, this might work out better. Pena has hit much better against right-handers in his career than lefties, while Freiman killed lefties in 15 at-bats in the Arizona Fall League.
This is not a move that will sell tickets, but may be a cheap way to fill the spot in Houston's order. How do you feel about it? Did you want Lance Berkman? Did you want a younger guy than Pena? Do you think he's got anything left i tank?
We will be broadcasting a live Astros Afterburners podcast tonight at 8 p.m. CT discussing the Carlos Pena signings