The Texas Rangers have been bitten by the injury bug to the point where there is serious concern about their ability to compete in the American League West this season. Losing Prince Fielder, and his incredibly long track record of both health and performance, was the biggest blow for Texas, but injuries to Mitch Moreland and Jurickson Profar aren’t helping, and the Rangers are in a dire position. To potentially combat the issue, the club has signed long-time MLB first baseman Carlos Pena to a minor league contract.
— MLBRosterMoves (@MLBRosterMoves) June 17, 2014
It has been more than a decade since the 36-year-old Pena emerged as a young player with the Rangers, but at this point, he was out of baseball entirely after putting up a subpar campaign with both the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros last season. Pena put together an ugly .207/.321/.346 slash line in 328 plate appearances during the 2013 campaign, but in the same breath, this was once a player who bashed 46 home runs in only 148 games with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2007.
Carlos Pena is best known, especially at this point, for an impressive batting eye that has allowed him to maintain a career 13.9% walk rate, but because he simply can’t hit for even a reasonable batting average, there are limitations. Still, the internal options are bleak for the Rangers right now, and giving Pena a chance to prove himself at triple-A could be a hail mary toward snatching some solid Major League production down the line.