ST. PETERSBURG: Infielder Carlos Pena #23 of the Tampa Bay Rays takes the throw at first against the Toronto Blue Jays. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
The Rays' all-time home-run leader, Carlos Pena, is returning to Tampa on a one-year deal.
In 2008, the Tampa Bay Rays were good for the first time in team history, and they've sustained that success rather remarkably for a team that has the same payroll as the average Piggly Wiggly. The first baseman on that team? Carlos Pena, who thumped and whiffed and thumped his way to a 129 OPS+. According to Jon Heyman, there's a reunion afoot:
pena is to receive about $7.25M on 1-yr deal back with his old team. #rays
First base was the most obvious hole for the Rays, who received surprising production from Casey Kotchman last year on a one-year deal. With Kotchman a free agent, they turned their attention to an old friend.
Pena had a renaissance of sorts after hitting .196 for the Rays in 2010. He signed a one-year deal with the Cubs, and the 33-year-old hit .225/.357/.462 with 28 home runs. In four seasons with the Rays, Pena hit .238/.368/.516 with 144 home runs, making him the franchise's all-time home-run leader. This new deal will give him a chance to extend his 16-homer lead over Aubrey Huff.