This is just speculation on the part of Adam Kilgore, but he wonders if Carlos Pena would be a good fit for the Nationals…

Rays first baseman Carlos Pena, whom the Nationals could be interested in as a potential replacement for [Adam] Dunn, is a Type B free agent. The Nats would not lose a draft pick if they end up signing him, even if the Rays offer Pena arbitration. Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff — another potential replacement for Dunn — is also a Type B free agent.

Before the season, we just assumed Pena wasn’t going to be back in 2011. But his poor offensive showing this season may have priced him right back within the budgetary restraints of the Rays. Of course, the problem with that is that Pena is also now within the budgetary constraints of a lot of teams.

And of the Rays free agents, Pena is one the Rays may be very interested in re-signing. If he does leave, who plays first base in 2011? Cuban defector Leslie Anderson was not even called up in September which indicates the Rays don’t think he is ready. Dan Johnson could get a look, but he would need a platoon partner.

That leaves Ben Zobrist. With guys like Matt Joyce and Sean Rodriguez available to play right field and second base, Zobrist could become at least a part-time first baseman..

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14 Comments

  1. phil says:

    trade shields to the angels for Napoli (26 hrs in 2010) and sign Ty Wighington (22 hrs in 2010) as a free agent and you solved first basea nd DH. Both have power and are versatile. Both are right handed but you have Dan johnson/ Matt Joyce/ reid brignac as lefties.

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    • John S says:

      Shields even in a down year will fetch a lot more than Napoli.

      Pitchers are that much of a premium in today's game.

      I am intrigued as to why we would not get a draft pick for Pena even if we offer

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      • Cork Gaines says:

        The Rays would get a draft pick, it just wouldn't come from the Nationals. As a type B free agent, if Pena signs elsewhere, the Rays receive just a supplemental pick between first and second rounds. Only type A free agents cost the new team a pick.

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      • phil says:

        ok Napoli and ______ (wharever the angels want to give up)

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    • Beth says:

      Hmmm, wonder how eager the Angels are to get another of the Rays cast-off starting pitchers (see Kazmir, Scott). But Shields, at least, comes a lot cheaper.

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      • phil says:

        Beth - I thought of that ..it was mentioned on the angels webite (Napoli to the Rays). Also heard they want to get rid of Kazmir (he has a $12M player optiion in 2012) and might release him (to avoid paying him for 2 years) potentially opening up a roster spot.. yes he is cheaper than Kazmir

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  2. Chris says:

    What kind of deal do you think Pena could command? I can't imagine anyone is going to give him a guaranteed deal of any significance.

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    • Cork Gaines says:

      It might depend on how the market settles in and how many first basemen ultimately hit free agency. But right now I'm guessing a one-year deal for $4-5 million with an option for 2012 at $5-7 million.

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      • Beth says:

        Well gosh, even the Rays could afford that!

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      • Scot says:

        I would be surprised if he signs for anywhere close to 1 million. It appears that teams are recognizing that this is a position where the supply is extensive. Bobby Abreu had much better numbers and he signed for 1 year- $5 million as I remember.

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  3. Don says:

    Rays can AFFORD to PAY Pena but they can't AFFORD to watch him strike out 200 times...Get RID of him for anything...
    we have better options for 1st base!

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  4. KillaTapes says:

    I honestly agree with Don which is rare. As much as I love Peña's clubhouse presence and his attitude, he was terrible this year. I guess one could say there's only room for improvement, but I'm sick of the lineup having so many holes in it.

    Put Leslie Anderson in there, see what he can do and use the extra money to sign someone else- a closer, or DH, whatever we can get that fills the needs of the club.

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