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.
Mets manager Terry Collins said on Wednesday, “It’s unlikely that [Steven Matz] will start the season with us.” The final spot in the Mets’ starting rotation will go to either Zack Wheeler or Seth Lugo, Newsday’s Marc Carig reports.
On Wheeler’s innings limit, assistant GM John Ricco said, “There’s going to be some number but we don’t exactly know what that is.” Wheeler missed the last two seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery.
Neither Wheeler nor Lugo have had terrific springs as each carries a 5.11 and 5.56 Grapefruit League ERA, respectively. However, Carig notes that Wheeler has impressed simply by appearing healthy and brandishing a fastball that once again sits in the mid- to high-90’s. Lugo, meanwhile, proved crucial to the Mets last year, posting a 2.67 ERA across eight starts and nine relief appearances.
Nick Groke of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies agreed to a $200 million, 30-year lease with the Metropolitan Baseball Stadium District, which is the state division that owns Coors Field. As part of the deal, the Rockies will lease and develop a plot of land south of the stadium, which will cost the team $125 million for 99 years.
As Groke points out, had the Rockies not reached a deal by Thursday, March 30, the lease would have rolled over for five more years.
Rockies owner Dick Monfort issued a statement, saying, “We are proud that Coors Field will continue to be a vital part of a vibrant city, drawing fans from near and far and making our Colorado residents proud.”
The Rockies moved into Coors Field in 1995. It is the National League’s third oldest stadium. In that span of time, the Rockies have made the playoffs three times, the last coming in 2009 when they lost in the NLDS to the Phillies. The Rockies were swept in the 2007 World Series by the Red Sox.