If you forgot about Wily Mo Pena, you’re not alone. The slugger washed out of the majors after the 2008 season, and making a brief return in 2011. Since then, Pena has been spending his time in Japan, slugging home run over home run in the Japan Pacific League.
To date, Pena has 21 home runs, 52 RBI, and a .245/.357/.520 slash line this season, his first with the Orix Buffaloes. He was invited to the Japanese All-Star Game and absolutely demolished the first pitch from pitcher Shintaro Fujinami. Look at how far this thing went:
(Tip of the cap to Deadspin)
Wily Mo Pena highlights are scant, as he left the majors right before online baseball highlights became a regular part of life. The few that are available show that monster home runs were not exactly a rarity for him.
Over 1,845 career plate appearances in the major leagues, Pena belted 84 home runs, but that was about the extent of his offensive value. He had a meager .250 batting average and .303 on-base percentage along with 559 strikeouts. But, boy, was he fun to watch.
The Padres announced on Sunday that the club signed pitcher Jordan Lyles to a one-year major league contract with a club option for 2019. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Lyles will earn $750,000 in 2018. Pitcher Travis Wood was designated for assignment to create room on the 40-man roster for Lyles.
Lyles, 27, had miserable results between the Rockies and Padres last season, compiling an aggregate 7.75 ERA with a 55/22 K/BB ratio over 69 2/3 innings. While he specifically gave up 24 earned runs in 23 innings across five starts with the Padres, it was a small sample. A full season at the pitcher-friendly Petco Park, as opposed to Colorado’s Coors Field, might help revitalize his career.
Wood, 30, went to the Padres at the non-waiver trade deadline from the Royals this past season. Overall, the lefty posted an aggregate 6.80 ERA with a 65/45 K/BB ratio in 94 innings. He’ll earn $6.5 million this season and has an $8 million mutual option with a $1 million buyout for 2019. So, the Padres are just eating $7.5 million minus the league minimum, assuming Wood latches on elsewhere.