Apparently, one year with the Chicago Cubs was too much for Carlos Pena, who signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, his former team, today. The deal is for one year and $7.25 million.
Tampa Bay got a year of solid production last season out of former top Angels prospect Casey Kotchman, who had a .306/.378/.422 line in 146 games, and amassed 2.8 fWAR. Kotchman was a free agent this offseason, and Tampa Bay couldn’t reach an agreement with him to return. Thus, they turned to Pena, who spent 2011 with the Cubs. He had a solid year with the Cubs in 2011, with a line of .225/.357/.462 and 28 homers in 153 games. Pena made $10 million for the Cubs last season.
The move is a solid one for the Rays, who regain the big bat in the middle of their order that they were lacking last season. Pena’s 28 homers would have been second on the team behind superstar third baseman Evan Longoria, and his 2.6 fWAR nearly completely replaces Kotchman’s 2.8, with the possibility of a higher total due to Pena’s history of success. His best season came in 2007 for the then Devil Rays, when he hit .282/.411/.627 with a franchise best 46 homers. He hit 30 homers in 2008 and 2009 before falling off the wagon in 2010, falling to a .732 OPS and just 1.1 fWAR.