M’s add Wily Mo Pena

marc w · July 28, 2011 at 12:08 am · Filed Under Mariners 

This morning, the Jays acquired CF Colby Rasmus from St. Louis, picking up one of the best available talents in a three team deal. Undaunted, the M’s got to work and signed OF/DH/COMEDY Wily Mo Pena, who’d been cut by the Diamondbacks a week ago.

Pena was out of affiliated ball for a while, then bounced back in 2010 after signing with the Padres and playing in the PCL for Portland. This year for Reno, all he did was hit .363/.439/.726. Yes, Reno’s a bandbox, but he hit better on the road. Yes, the PCL is suddenly a collective bandbox, but that’s still quite impressive. After Juan Miranda struggled, Arizona called him up for just shy of 50 plate appearances. He didn’t draw a walk, struck out often, and hit five homers. As he’s a defensive liability, that wasn’t enough to maintain the D-Backs interest. They’re in a vastly different situation, as they had a 1B trapped in AAA (Brandon Allen), and another 1B mashing in AA (Paul Goldschmidt), and they play in the National League. Pena’s meant for the AL, and he’s meant for a team that’s not getting a lot of production from the DH spot (or any other spot).

Pena’s only 29, and he’s been a lefty masher in the minors, but his MLB splits aren’t anything out of the ordinary. For the moment, he’ll head to Peoria for a bit while the M’s figure out how to fit him onto a AAA roster that includes DH Luis Jimenez, Carlos Peguero, Matt Mangini, Matt Tuiasosopo and Mike Wilson. Jeff at LL hypothesizes that he could replace Jack Cust as the primary DH. He could also platoon with Cust if the club wanted to commit to Carp in LF and move someone else back to Tacoma.

This is a minor move; Pena hasn’t been an effective MLB player since 2007, and his eye-popping PCL stats didn’t exactly translate to the National League (see? It’s not just Mariners that do this). If the pick-up blocked someone, it’d be odd. But this is a no-risk, low-reward move that shows that the M’s are going to try their best to put a decent product on the field down the stretch. Pena is basically Carlos Peguero’s 99th percentile projection, but he comes to a team that’s repeatedly used an aging Adam Kennedy at DH, and which splits its clean-up spot between an enfeebled Justin Smoak and a catcher with an OBP in the .260 range. M’s fans are tired of watching the team struggle to score runs, and I’m tired of repeating that a call-up or waiver-wire flotsam HAS to be better than the incumbent in Seattle. So here’s to incremental improvement. Here’s to a guy who generates some excitement. Here’s to the team reminding me more of the 2004 M’s and less of the 2010 M’s, which is somehow, inexplicably, a compliment.

Wily Mo Pena


17 Responses to “M’s add Wily Mo Pena”

  1. Snake Hippo on July 28th, 2011 12:13 am

    I was so irrationally excited when I heard this.

  2. SethGrandpa on July 28th, 2011 12:51 am

    It wouldn’t shock me if Kennedy got dealt and Cust got DFA’d in the next week or so, which would leave plenty of ABs for Willy Mo to DH.

  3. tmac9311 on July 28th, 2011 1:49 am

    The track record of the M’s picking up players I irrationally love is awesome! Bill Hall Eric Brynes Chone Figgins Milton Bradley and now Willy Mo!!

    …man I have a fascination with horrendous players. Here’s hoping Willy Mo is the best out of them, and contributes positive WAR.

  4. Paul B on July 28th, 2011 6:57 am

    Bill Hall Eric Brynes Chone Figgins Milton Bradley


  5. Carson on July 28th, 2011 7:42 am

    I can’t remember her name, but Red’s significant other probably just came out of her shoes in excitement.

    Hey, whatever. The guy might hit a few flashy dingers in a lost season and make people forget for small periods of time that this offense has no power.

  6. philosofool on July 28th, 2011 8:48 am

    A picture! I love pictures. Seriously, I wish there were more of them. Probably not okay on the servers, but it would be cool to see a few for pictures around here.

  7. currcoug on July 28th, 2011 10:18 am

    Why would we give AB’s to a hitter who put up an abysmal .196 OBP, with 19 SO’s and no BB’s in his brief stint with Arizona this year? This is a guy who has struck out well over 4 times the number he has walked.

    I would rather see the AB’s go to Mike Wilson.

  8. G-Man on July 28th, 2011 10:27 am

    Yeah, I don’t see a lot of upside in this. A RH Peguero, perhaps that’s what they want. I would think Mike Wilson would provide equal power and better tools. Maybe they think that WMP has the muscle to overcome Safeco’s resistance to RH power hitters?? Or just that he’ll sell a few tickets in September.

  9. Bremerton guy on July 28th, 2011 11:28 am

    I agree with G-Man and currcoug. At this point, the season’s lost. Why not bring up Wilson and let him play every day? Ever since they sent him back to Tacoma he’s been on fire. What do they have to lose? It’s not like Cust has done anything the last month.

  10. dekdek on July 28th, 2011 12:34 pm

    WM Pena … pointless. I hope we don’t see him on the ML roster. The team is done with being “competitive” this year… time to let the kids play!

    The Mariners desparately need some right handed power. Bring up Mike Wilson and most importantly, let him PLAY! Let him be the left fielder for a full month. Peguero got his chance, Halman’s had some chance, let’s try Mike Wilson! Let him play!

    Carp is a bat without a defensive position… also known as The DH… let Carp play!

    Smoak is a work-in-progress with a small investment… let him play!

    Ackley is a future all-star and possibly more. Nice pick JackZ!

    Brendan Ryan… nice grab by JackZ!

    Figgins … this is by far the biggest problem the Mariners have. If the team didn’t owe him $16+ million he’s an easy DFA. Figgins is painful to watch… but I believe the Mariners could really turn around if they could find Figgin’s mojo… or maybe the mojo is gone forever… bad grab JackZ!

    Guti & Ichiro!…. no worries .. it doesn’t matter what they do this year… stay healthy and work towards next year.

    I don’t want to see WM Pena or Jack Cust or Adam Kennedy or Jack Wilson anymore. I’m sure they have contributed some value but hey, TIME to move on!

  11. wilchiro on July 28th, 2011 12:59 pm

    Wily Mo Pena is the next Jose Bautista

  12. wilchiro on July 28th, 2011 1:02 pm

    “The Mariners desparately need some right handed power. Bring up Mike Wilson and most importantly, let him PLAY!”

    Pena is a year older then Wilson.

  13. Nellie Fox on July 28th, 2011 2:34 pm

    Seems to me that Guti and Cust are starting to come around. Smoak needs to play. Holman is a nice athlete, Figgins is going nowhere, Carp is hitting, and Kennedy is professional, versatile, and heady. Ergo, WMP would appear to be added depth at AAA and a September call up with a chance to impress. Nothing more.

  14. eponymous coward on July 28th, 2011 3:26 pm

    Wily Mo Pena = Mike Wilson with less fielding, more bat.

    At this point GMZ is collecting AAAA outfielders, so sure, what’s one more? But I wouldn’t expect either Wilson or Pena to be much of an answer.

  15. marc w on July 29th, 2011 12:10 am

    As long as the M’s keep acquiring AAA players that are noteworthy enough for me to photograph, I will add more photos. But I’m limited to Tacoma, so, sadly, I won’t have anything on M’s trade targets or anything like that. Just glad that you like the few photos we’ve used.

    I think wilchiro sums it up – Mike Wilson is not a ‘kid’ that WMP is ‘blocking.’ They’re basically the same age, and while Wilson can actually play the OF, Pena’s legitimately better at the plate. I always hoped Wilson’d get a legit shot, but giving him a legit shot also means not really caring about the team’s record. I understand that many here don’t care, but it’s Z’s job on the line. As a rationally self-interested GM, he went with a free upgrade.

  16. Paul B on July 29th, 2011 9:18 am

    Looking at the Mariner AAAA players, it sure seems like the next undervalued asset must be hitters who strike out a lot and don’t walk much.

  17. UnderTheClouds on July 29th, 2011 1:19 pm

    If he does get called up, I wonder if the Mariners Team Shop will let me customize a road jersey to spell “Mo’ Pena”?

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