Wily Go?

There’s been a lot of talk recently about Wily Mo Pena, the Red Sox’s fourth outfielder, and whether he belongs on this team. Fans are starting to clamor for him to be traded, and talk shows are predicting that he’ll be unloaded to a smaller-market team that’s desperate for power.

The Problem
Personally, I am something of a Wily Mo fan, and I can’t think of a better situation for him to be in than Boston, under the tutelage of David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, two of the greatest Dominican sluggers in the game. The problem is this: the guy isn’t good enough to start for a contender. He’s got the power, but he still can’t lay off breaking stuff outside the zone. And his defense makes him a huge liability everywhere except, ironically, DH and left field.

Why Not Trade Him?
What does he bring to the team right now? A backup OF who can play (we use this term lightly) all three positions, and right-handed power off the bench. We already have Eric Hinske to substitute in LF or RF, and he needs more playing time. Pena’s roster spot could be better utilized, maybe. And given the Red Sox luck, you know he’ll go somewhere and develop into a monster hitter.

What Can We Get For Him?
Pena would probably be most appealing to a team in need of outfield power, and one who is not necessarily a contender this year. AL teams in need of a DH night consider him as well, because his contract is pretty manageable. In my mind, Kansas City, Washington and maybe Oakland or Minnesota would be possible trade partners. The Orioles and Rangers might consider acquiring outfield help. We need to get a good prospect and at least a backup CF in return for him, though no one’s going to give us a top tier prospect. Kansas City has a farm system overflowing with young talent, so they’d be ideal. Or if we deal with the Nationals, nabbing Chad Cordero would be nice, if possible.

Pena will hit .260-.270 for some team, and probably will slug about 35 HR with 90 RBI in a full season, and he’ll strike out nearly 200 times. That’s all he’s really capable of right now. Whether he’ll improve or not, we don’t know. But we know he can’t improve without adequate playing time here. So yes, maybe the time has come to part ways with Wily Mo. I’ll miss you and your 500 ft rockets. *sniff*


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