12/17/12: Astros Bust Out Checkbook, Sign Carlos Pena To Huge Contract

Ay-yup, you heard that right. Carlos Pena. He’s getting an enormous salary of 2.9 mill to be 1B/DH. My God, Crane is going all out, breaking the bank!! Look out Dodgers!!!!! And, according to the Chron, they are still “pursuing” Lance Berkman, who is not signing for peanuts. Carlos is a decent glove, actually and is lefty, like Brett Wallace, the difference being that Carlos is significantly HOTTTTTer and can and will take a walk in between all the strikeouts.

Should the team sign Berkman, too – who is, by now, basically a lefty, there is no righty first base backup. Not sure what this would mean for Brett besides goo-bah major league career.

What this REALLY means is that Singleton is most certainly not starting the year with the ML club, and if Berkman signs, too, will not be playing with the ML club.

A little on Carlos Pena and yes, you DO remember his handsome face from his year with the C*bs. He was a first rounder with Texas in 98, was traded from the Rangers to the Athletics for Ryan Ludwick, Gerald Laird and a couple of minor leaguers) and he is the guy who Art Howe insisted on playing instead of Billy Beane’s pet Scott Hatteberg. It’s not like Carlos didn’t get OBP neither, most likely that Billy already had his petsy-poo picked out. You know how THAT is.

So Billy dumped him later in the year, going to the Tigers (the trade that sent Ted Lilly to the As and Jeremy Bonderman – the infamous draftee that caused Billy Beane to throw a chair in anger when his maroons drafted a high schooler), was part of all those suckage Tiger teams – but was hardly a good teammate – refusing to suck, by posting OPS+ of 113, 108, 114 and 113.

In 06, he was released by the Tigers, picked up by the Yanks (played in the minors), released by the Yanks, picked up by the BoSox and non-tendered at the end of the year.

He then signed a cheapo contract with the Rays in 07, finally “Fulfilling His Potential” with a 1.037 OPS (172 OPS+) with 29 doubles, 46 homers, 103 BB and excellent glove. He then fulfilled his wallet with a fat 3 year contract for 30 mill, posting a 129 OPS+ (and a Gold Glove), 133 OPS+ and 103 OPS+ while allowing his batting average to sink from .288 to .247 to .227 to .196 while keeping strikeouts nice and steady at approximately 162/season and his walks at 87-96/ season.

He signed a 1 year 10 mill deal with the C*bs in 2010 – guess the Rays had someone cheaper in mind. He did fine with Chi, posting a 123 OPS+ with 27 doubles, 28 homers, 100 walks, 162 K. The C*bs, in full Save Money For The Owners mode, didn’t resign him, so he went back to the Rays for 7.2 mill.

He had a very down year last year with a 94 OPS+ which was his first sub 100 OPS year since 02. Over 600 PA, he had 17 doubles and 19 homers with 182 K and 87 walks. In other words, we’re looking at Mo Ensberg 2007.

Check his WAR since 2007:
6.8, 4.8, 2.8, 1.7, 2.3 (C*bs), 0.4 – not that most of these values are from offense.

I also want to point out that last year, he was a full time first baseman, with only 10 PH and 3 DH plate appearances. In fact, over the past 3 years, he has rarely pinch hit (or DH) with 1149 AB as a first baseman and 11 DH and 14 PH ABs. Who knows how he’s going to adjust to not playing in the field. Some do better, lots do worse.

Good news is that he doesn’t GIDP very often – he walks or Ks.  He’ll be 35 in May, has missed the Mendoza line 2 out of the last 3 years, has decreasing power and RBI numbers with increasing K numbers – in other words, he’s getting old. He talks about needing a new start, an incentive – blahblahblah. On the other hand, he does provide the Astros with the eye-candy they’ve been missing since Bradley Awesomeness left after the 08 season.

He is supposed to be providing that Luscious Veterany Goodness, as well. If Lance comes back, he can provide everyone with the Really?? t-shirts again.


8 Responses to “12/17/12: Astros Bust Out Checkbook, Sign Carlos Pena To Huge Contract”

  1. Eric says:

    *dryly* I’ll see what I can do about arranging a dinner date between you and Carlos “HOTTER and Handsomer” Pena.

    Don’t worry, Mr. Crane will NOT be chaperoning. Now if you’d arrange a similar dinner date for moi and Alyson Footer I’d be in clover.

  2. Becky says:

    Ooooooh Eric………I didn’t know you had a “thang” for Footer!! She’s pretty cute,
    and knows FAR more baseball stuff than most of us!
    As for the Pena signing, I guess he was the only over the hill, cheap, and declining player that Luhnow could afford. Oh well……Berkman saw this coming
    bercause he KNOWS Crane ain’t gonna pay him $10 mill. to be a DH. Becky :) :)

  3. Lisa Gray says:


    i think Husby-doo gots dibs on alyson footer if i was to, um, interview (ahem) carlos up close and personal – you might say.

    i wonder if crane/luhnow gots the brains to hire alyson to take deshaeis’ place. she’s smart, an astros fan and she also belongs to SABR. AND she’s, well, HOT without being, um, blond.

  4. Becky says:

    Hey!!!!!!! I’m *BLONDE”!!!!!!! And I’m not an “air-head”! As far as Footer, she was
    TOLD her job would NOT be a part of the “new Astros”! I miss her sooo much
    she gave an inside look at the guys on the field! Becky “the blonde”!! :) :) :) :) :)

  5. Bruce says:

    I saw Art Howe speak in December 2002, right after Billy “traded” him to the Mets. He was fit, smart, and praised the value of walks, quite unlike Truman in the movie. He would have probably loved to have taken Pena with him.

  6. Lisa Gray says:


    for some reason, almost every caucasian woman on tv in sports is turned into a blond, no matter how she started. that’s what i mean by blonding.

    as far as i know, alyson is employed by mlb, still. it’s too bad they don’t want her – can’t figure out who they DO want, except that i’m sure whoever it is is gonna be cheap, just like crane.


    who knows why billy didn’t want pena or art howe. there are a WHOLE lot of really good ballplayers that billy has dumped who were not expensive at the time. he has made some really bad high ticket signings, too. he’s not this genius. sometimes moves work and sometimes they don’t. i would say, from what i saw with the brewers, that ken macha was most certainly NOT an improvement on art howe.

  7. Eric says:

    All the Ausmus goodness you could ever handle.


    It’s the Astros’ tribute to Ausmus..and it’s pretty humorous.

  8. Lisa Gray says:


    saw it when it came out. addicted to surfing – you could smell the seawater. berkman is hilarious. and surprisingly, so was loretta