Wily Mo Pena close to signing deal with Japanese team

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According to Sponichi in Japan, via Yakyubaka.com and CBS Sports’ Eye on Baseball, free agent slugger Wily Mo Pena is close to signing a two-year contract with the Softbank Hawks of Nippon Professional Baseball.

Pena, 29, slugged seven home runs in 120 major league plate appearances this past year between the Diamondbacks and Mariners. He also tallied 25 homers in 76 games at the Triple-A level.

That raw power has always been intriguing to big league front offices, but Pena has never really had a position — he’s a highly unreliable defensive outfielder — and never possessed the kind of plate discipline that would make him worthy of a starting DH gig. His career MLB strikeout rate is 30.3%.

The Sponichi report suggests that he will receive around $5 million in total salary, a lofty price tag for any NPB athlete. Perhaps the Softbank Hawks believe that the batting-practice showman carries star potential.

The Marlins are going to reveal new uniforms today

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The Miami Marlins’ makeover has led them to get rid of the home run sculpture, add a party section in the outfield and paint the green outfield wall blue. As of today it’s going to include new uniforms.

The Marlins Twitter account has been teasing it for a couple of days now:

Based on that it would seem that the primary colors will be black and that, I dunno, royal blue? Dark aqua? I’m not sure what it is, but it’s not the old teal and certainly not a navy. There will be red and white accents too. There will also, apparently, be a new fish logo, a bit different than the old realistic one and the newer stylized one. You can see what that’ll probably look like here.

We’ll reserve final judgment for the overall look when it’s revealed, but for now I’m sorta torn. On the one hand, no, it’s not like the Marlins created any indelible historical moments in the 2012-18 orange and rainbow getup. And, if the stuff was selling like hotcakes or otherwise taking off locally in Miami, they likely wouldn’t be changing it.

On the other hand: we have too much blue — and red and black — in baseball these days. Most teams have it and far fewer teams than ever go off in some new direction. I wrote this seven years ago when the last Marlins uniform was unveiled:

Said it before and I’ll say it again: the hell with the haters. I like ’em. I like that they’re doing something fresh and new. There was a time in this country when we didn’t look backwards all the time. We looked forward and tried stuff and didn’t care all that much if, in a few years, we realized it was a mistake.

Leave the understated block letters to the franchises crushed under the weight of their own history.  If your team is less than 20-years-old, let your freak flag fly.

I stand by that, both with respect to the old Marlins uniforms and with the philosophy in general.

Like I said, I’ll give the Marlins’ new uniforms a chance, but I fear that it’ll be a look backward into some sort of baseball traditionalism that, while a lot of people seem to like it, doesn’t suit a team with such a short history and doesn’t attempt to be terribly creative. I hope I’m wrong.