Wily Mo Pena’s comeback attempt never quite took hold, as he totaled just 120 plate appearances for the Mariners and Diamondbacks, and now the flawed but powerful 29-year-old has agreed to a two-year contract to play in Japan for the Softbank Hawks.
Earlier this week reports pegged Pena’s contract as being worth around $5 million, so it’s tough to blame him for choosing Japan over trying to stick in American long enough to make $500,000 or so in a season.
Pena has never lost his 30-homer power, going deep seven times in just 113 at-bats this year, but his complete lack of plate discipline and defensive ability have held him back since initial success from 2004-2006.
Softbank are the reigning Japanese champions and it wouldn’t be surprising if Pena puts up some monster numbers. He hit .250 with 84 homers and a .748 OPS in 599 games as a major leaguer, averaging 25 homers per 500 at-bats.
Two weeks ago the Seattle Mariners gave GM Jerry Dipoto a contract extension. Today they did the same for manager Scott Servais. They are calling it a “multi-year contract extension,” though the exact number of years and the money is not reported. The money rarely is reported for the managers.
Servais has a record of 222–199 (.527) midway through his third season as the M’s skipper. That, actually, makes him the fourth-winningest manager in Mariners history if you can believe it. Twenty men have held that job. A lot of them helmed some pretty bad teams.
The Mariners released a quote from Dipoto regarding Servais:
“Scott has created a culture here in Seattle that allows players to be successful,” Dipoto said. “They are encouraged to be themselves, which has resulted in a loose environment, while still maintaining the focus on team above self. His leadership has also been evident through the ongoing growth and impact of one of the best coaching staffs in Major League Baseball.
“He has been the right leader at the right time for the right team and I look forward to many more years together.”
The Mariners are currently 58–39, good for the fourth-best record in the Major Leagues. If the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs for the first time since 2001, baseball’s longest postseason drought.