Earlier today, Carlos Pena appeared on “Power Alley,” hosted by Kevin Kennedy and Jim Duquette on MLB Network Radio. Once we fought through all the butt-kissing provided by Kennedy, we heard a player that sounds very willing to sign with a new team…

On free agency:

Surprisingly I am extremely calm about it…My focus right now is to make sure I am ok. I am focused on my workouts and being healthy…That is the most important focus. To make sure I am better and ready to play…The only thing I am going to concern myself with is my well-being and to make sure wherever I go they will get the best I got.

On where he wants to play next year:

I can’t stress how important it is to be on a team where I am wanted.

On the possibility of re-signing with the Rays:

It is no secret how much Tampa Bay means to me. How much this team has helped me grow. I feel like I have grown. This team is like home to me…The ball is in their court. But I am keeping my mind open to new possibilities. I must be flexible and do what is best for me. Tampa is always going to be a special place. My growth as a player and a professional is owed to the Tampa Bay Rays. [However] sometimes [the future] may not be what I want it to be. And I am excited about the new possibilities out there for me.

Obviously Pena must say all the right things in free agency. And that includes not shutting the door on any possibilities. But just listening to Pena’s tone of voice, and it sure sounded like he has accepted that re-signing with the Rays is not likely.

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9 Comments

  1. The Rays are playing this smart. They have to act like they have ZERO interest in the Pena or someone else is going to try and get him. The only way he returns to the Rays is if the rest of the league thinks he's washed up and the Rays can get him for a deal.

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    • Don says:

      What is your Idea of a "DEAL" for Pena???
      Obviously he was grossly over paid at $10 mil, is he worth $5mil....Zobrist only makes that... and he would be a better option at 1st than Pena...How about $3mil... thats what Shopp is going to make and Pena can out hit him...bearly....
      So what about $2mil and a $1mil bonus if he hits .250...
      That gives him $3mil and the Rays a 1B that hits .250...or he sits on the bench for $2mil...Good deal all around!

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      • Greg says:

        If you are going to judge Pena by last year's stats, then do the same for Zobrist. Pena hit .196 and still had a higher OPS than Zobrist. That is how bad a year Zobrist had. Pena is an excellent first baseman defensively and putting Zobrist there removes the best facet of his game - his ability to play many positions. Other than that, Zobrist has little to offer. Pena has drawn a ton of interest and will likely get a multi-year deal far exceeding his worth. Pena isn't signing anywhere for 2 or 3 million. Please don't bring up Shoppach in comparison to Pena. Stop judging everything by batting average. Shoppach does not even provide average defense behind the dish.

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        • Don says:

          Alright, Lets look at it this way, If you had to choose between one player to keep... and one player to trade/dump...
          Would you keep Pena or Zobrist to play 1st....Think hard!
          My hole point is... Pena would be ok to resign IF they get him cheap, If not.... good riddens, we have better alternatives!

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  2. I think the key to signing Pena for any team will be length of deal. Would he sign 2 years for 6-7.5 million or 3 for 5-7 million? Team option? Player option? I can see the Rays offering no more than 2 years - 6.5 million tops with maybe a team option for a third for 5 million. By the end of that contract, his career will be serious decline. If you are Pena, you want to lock in a paycheck, but you want to be realistic.

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  3. Gus says:

    I hate to say it, but given the power dip throughout MLB in the last several years AND the PED testing, the Rays need to be very careful with Pena's money. They cannot (and should not) pay for past performance. He had tough injuries this year with his foot and his hand from 2009 (and those RIDICULOUS batting gloves). But if he could be had at $4M base or less, they should definitely do it (and load up the contract with incentives if he performs).

    Power is in short supply in MLB these days and Pena has power. We all got down on him, but over the long haul he has massive power that will not easily be replaced.

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    • hellrayser says:

      I dunno, I'd rather see them play someone at first with upside than latter-day Pena in the middle of his long decline. Even if it means chancing a lost year with someone who doesn't have his glove.

      Seems to me the money's better spent on a reliever; you could dump Pena and Upton for a younger power bat; or even just lose Pena for some solid developmental prospects - the Rays have a great eye for those.

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