GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Wily Mo Pena is making a return to the MLB. The Indians signed Pena to a minor-league deal, picking up who was once one of baseball’s lead power-hitting prospects.
Pena was known for his great power, but lack of consistent hitting in the big leagues. He has not played in an MLB game since 2011, but has continued to play ball in Japan.
Pena, an outfielder, elected free agency from the Seattle Mariners in 2011, no MLB team selected his contract and he headed across the pond. In his first year, he hit a solid .280 in his 130 games and pounded out 21 home runs. The positive trends remained in his 4 seasons of ball in Japan.
Now, Pena is 35 years old. Cleveland has a track record for old sluggers such as the former Indian Mike Napoli and the newly signed Ed Encarnacion. According to Fansided, the Indians value reliable backup to fill in for their power players. This strategy proved fruitful last year as the Tribe suffered through many injuries in their playoff run. Pena could be a good fallback in case the team needs a backup slugger from the minors.
Pena could also be a trade asset if he plays well enough. This makes the seasoned man an easy signing for the front office to make.
Pena has an opportunity to make a comeback in the Pros – and there is no more fitting place to do so than Cleveland.