The Cleveland Indians have signed Wily Mo Pena to a minor league deal. Yes, that Wily Mo Pena. As if there could be another.
Pena did not play pro ball at all — anywhere — in 2016. In 2015 he played for the Rakuten Golden Eagles in Japan, hitting .268/.396/.448 with 17 home runs in 125 games. He played for the Orix Buffaloes the year before that and the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks in 2013 and 2012. He hit well at those stops when he was healthy. His last work in the United States: 2011, when he split time between the Diamondbacks and Mariners to underwhelming effect.
The odds of Pena making the Indians are super long. Indeed, this is a minor league deal without an invite to big league camp, meaning that he’s unlikely to even see garbage time in major league spring training games absent some injuries or absent him really, really impressing someone in workouts. Pena is 35 too, so even with some decent success in Japan, it’s possible that he simply isn’t good enough to make a team anymore.
Still, for a few brief moments several years ago, Pena turned some heads with his prodigious power and the suggestion that, if a couple of things fell in the right direction, he could be a good big leaguer one day. It never happened, but a lot of us have a hard time letting go of that sort of thing, so we perk up a bit when we hear of signings like this.
John Wisely of the Detroit Free Press reports that current free agent reliever Francisco Rodriguez is being sued by his former landlord for damage to the rented property as well as missing artwork. The landlord is asking for $80,000 after having kept Rodriguez’s $15,000 security deposit.
The lawsuit says that Rodriguez damaged a bedroom TV, a crystal floor lamp, glass shelves in the bar, glass tiles in the master bath, and a Moroccan mirror in the powder room. Additionally, the suit claims that the bedding is stained and paint has chipped, as well as other damages. And the piece of art that is allegedly missing, which depicts a tiger, is valued at more than $10,000.
Rodriguez has not yet been served with the suit, but the landlord has been speaking to his managers.
The Nationals released Rodriguez, 35, two weeks ago after having signed him to a minor league contract in late June. He started the season with the Tigers, but struggled to a 7.82 ERA over 25 1/3 innings before being released.
MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reports that the Rays have acquired first baseman Lucas Duda from the Mets. The Mets will receive pitching prospect Drew Smith in return, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports.
Duda, 31, is batting .246/.347/.532 with 17 home runs and 37 RBI in 291 plate appearances for the Mets this season. He’ll provide a potent bat in the Rays’ lineup as they attempt to overcome their current 2.5-game deficit in the AL East.
Smith, 23, is the Rays’ No. 30 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. He ascended from High-A to Triple-A already this season, posting an aggregate 1.60 ERA with a 40/9 K/BB ratio over 45 innings across four stops with High-A Lakeland (Tigers), High-A Charlotte (Rays), Double-A Montgomery, and Triple-A Durham.