Carlos Pena batted just .207/.321/.346 over 328 plate appearances this past season between the Astros and Royals and will turn 36 years old next May, but the former first-round pick of the Rangers wants at least one more major league paycheck.
Yahoo! Sports’ Tim Brown writes that Pena “is not planning on retiring” and “would like another shot” in 2014. He is a free agent and might be able to attract interest from American League teams in desperate need of a part-time designated hitter or bench bat.
Pena strikes out a ton and his contact rate has diminished considerably, but he does still have some power and that’s something that is always in demand. Pena slugged 19 home runs in 160 games with the Rays in 2012 and 28 in 153 games with the Cubs in 2011. He hit eight home runs in 89 games this year.
Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.
When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.
Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.