Signed to a minor-league contract by the Rangers last week, veteran first baseman Carlos Pena is back in the majors as part of Texas’ never-ending need for injury reinforcements.
Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland are both out for the season, so Pena will get a chance to take over at first base. He can still draw walks in bunches and has solid power, but Pena is 36 years old and has hit just .201 with a .678 OPS in 249 games since the beginning of 2012. He hasn’t cracked a .230 batting average since way back in 2008.
He’ll replace 32-year-old career minor leaguer Brad Snyder, who didn’t get much of an opportunity after putting up big numbers at Triple-A. Snyder heads back to the minors with a .167 batting average in 10 games.
George A. King III of the New York Post reports that the Yankees and outfielder Brett Gardner are back together on a one-year, $12.5 million contract. The deal includes a second year option worth $20 million.
Gardner, 36, is coming off of the strongest offensive season of his career, batting .251/.325/.503 with 28 home runs, 74 RBI, 86 runs scored, and 10 stolen bases over 550 plate appearances. While he has certainly lost a step or two with age, he still rates as an above-average defensive corner outfielder as well.
As Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes, the Yankees also value Gardner — a veteran of 12 seasons — for his leadership, especially with CC Sabathia and Didi Gregorius gone.
Bringing Gardner back into the fold allows Giancarlo Stanton to remain the full-time DH. Gardner will return to left field with Aaron Hicks and Aaron Judge reprising their roles in center and right, respectively.