Wily Mo Peña

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Wily Mo Peña
Wily Mo Peña on April 15, 2012.jpg
Mo Peña with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
Free agent
Outfielder
Born: (1982-01-23) January 23, 1982 (age 32)
Laguna Salada, Dominican Republic
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Professional debut
MLB: September 10, 2002 for the Cincinnati Reds
NPB: March 30, 2012 for the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks
MLB statistics
(through 2011)
Batting average .250
Hits 495
Home runs 84
Runs batted in 240
NPB statistics
(through 2014)
Batting average .262
Hits 292
Home runs 54
Runs batted in 182
Teams

Wily Modesto Peña (born January 23, 1982) is a Dominican professional baseball outfielder who is a free agent. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Washington Nationals, Arizona Diamondbacks and Seattle Mariners and in Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) for the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks and Orix Buffaloes. At 6 feet, 5 inches in height and nearly 300 pounds, the right-handed batting and throwing Peña is considered a pure power hitter best known for his tape-measure home runs and high strikeout rate.

Professional career[edit]

Originally signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1998, Peña signed with the New York Yankees about a year later and was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for third baseman/designated hitter Drew Henson and outfielder Michael Coleman in 2001. He debuted with the Reds as a September call-up in 2002, and got a single while pinch hitting in his first major league at-bat.[1] Peña proved his label as a power hitter, hitting a home run in his second major league game off Chicago Cubs pitcher Steve Smyth.[2]

From 2003 through 2005, Peña was a fourth outfielder with the Reds, and saw substantial playing time in centerfield covering for the often injured Ken Griffey, Jr., and backing up Austin Kearns in right field. In his career in Cincinnati, Peña batted .248 with 51 home runs and 134 RBIs in 302 games.

Boston Red Sox[edit]

Peña during his time with the Red Sox.

The Reds traded Peña to the Boston Red Sox during spring training in 2006 for pitcher Bronson Arroyo. Over the course of the season, Peña again served as a fourth outfielder and one half of a platoon in right field. He batted a career-high .301 with a personal best on-base percentage of .349 in 299 plate appearances. Following an injury to Coco Crisp, Peña filled in at center field. On May 27, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list after surgery was required for an injured tendon in his left wrist. On July 18, he was activated from the disabled list. After platoon-mate Trot Nixon injured his biceps on July 30, Peña played more frequently in right field. The next day he fell a double short of hitting for the cycle in a 9-8 win over the Cleveland Indians.[3] He hit .301 with 11 home runs in the 2006 season. Following the season, Peña played for the Dominican Republic in the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

The only action Peña saw in 2007 with the Red Sox was filling in for Crisp and J.D. Drew at center and right field. Pena hit a grand slam off of closer Chris Ray of the Baltimore Orioles to help the Red Sox to a 5-2 victory on April 26. Throughout the season Peña was rumored to be on the trading block, including in a deal at the trade deadline that did not go through.

Washington Nationals[edit]

Peña signing autographs for fans at Turner Field in Atlanta as a member of the Nationals in 2008.

On August 17 Peña was traded to the Washington Nationals, with the Red Sox receiving 25 year-old first baseman Chris Carter and the Arizona Diamondbacks receiving Emiliano Fruto and cash considerations. Peña hit well for the Nationals, and finished 2007 with a cumulative 289 at-bats, 13 home runs and he batted .259 with a .319 on-base percentage and a .439 slugging percentage.

His $2.3 million signing bonus is now the third largest ever for an amateur free agent. In December 2007, he signed a one-year contract with the Nationals for $2 million with a mutual option for 2009 of $2 million.

On March 28, 2009, Peña was designated for assignment by the Nationals and placed on waivers.[4] Peña went unclaimed and declined an assignment to the minor leagues so he was unconditionally released.[5]

New York Mets[edit]

On April 20, 2009, Peña signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets and was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo. He was released on June 22, 2009.

Bridgeport Bluefish[edit]

On May 30, 2010, Pena began playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish, an independent team in the Atlantic League. In 38 games for Bridgeport, Peña hit .310 with 8 home runs and 38 runs batted in. During the offseason Wily played for the Tigres del Licey of the Dominican Winter League.[citation needed]

San Diego Padres[edit]

On July 19, 2010, Peña was signed to a minor league deal by the Padres, he was assigned to Triple-A Portland.

Arizona Diamondbacks[edit]

Peña signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training with the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the 2011 season.[6] As of mid-June, he was hitting .356 with 21 homers and 62 RBIs for the team's Triple-A affiliate in Reno. He was called up on June 21 and hit a home run that night in his first game in 3 years.

In a game against the Detroit Tigers on June 24, Pena launched a go-ahead homer an estimated 454 feet deep into the left-field seats at Comerica Park to give the Diamondbacks a 7-6 lead and the eventual victory.

Four days later, in a game at Chase Field with the Cleveland Indians tied at 4 in the bottom of the ninth inning and Ryan Roberts on third base, Wily Mo powered a walk-off homer into the seats in left field giving the D-Backs a 6-4 win.

On July 15, 2011, Peña was designated for assignment.[7] He was released on July 24.[8]

Seattle Mariners[edit]

Pena signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners on July 27, 2011.[9] He had his contract purchased on August 13.[10] He elected free agency on October 30.

Fukuoka Softbank Hawks[edit]

On November 29, 2011, Pena signed a 2-year contract with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan.

Orix Buffaloes[edit]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2007, Wily Mo Peña and his MoPeace Foundation teamed up with Joslin Diabetes Center's Latino Diabetes Initiative for the Beisbol y Salud Latino Diabetes and Health Festival to educate Latino men, women and children about type 2 diabetes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Cincinnati Reds 3, Pittsburgh Pirates 0". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on October 6, 2008. Retrieved September 10, 2002. 
  2. ^ "Cincinnati Reds 15, Chicago Cubs 12". Baseball-Reference.com. Archived from the original on August 9, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2002. 
  3. ^ null | redsox.com: News
  4. ^ Bill Ladson (March 28, 2009). "Peña placed on waivers". MLB.com. Archived from the original on April 26, 2013. Retrieved March 28, 2009. 
  5. ^ "Nationals Release Pena". Yahoo! Sports. March 31, 2009. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. 
  6. ^ http://fullcount.weei.com/sports/boston/baseball/red-sox/2010/12/01/wily-mo-pena-signs-with-the-arizona-diamondbacks/
  7. ^ Gabel, Chris (July 15, 2011). "D'backs call up Allen, Peña designated for assigm=nment". Reno Gazette. Retrieved July 5, 2011. 
  8. ^ Adams, Luke (July 24, 2011). "Diamondbacks Release Wily Mo Pena". MLBTradeRumors.com. Archived from the original on August 21, 2011. Retrieved July 24, 2011. 
  9. ^ Axisa, Mike (July 27, 2011). "Mariners Sign Wily Mo Pena". MLBTradeRumors.com. Archived from the original on August 13, 2011. Retrieved July 28, 2011. 
  10. ^ Mennella, Dan (August 18, 2011). "Mariners Designate Luke French For Assignment". MLBTradeRumors.com. Archived from the original on August 20, 2011. Retrieved August 13, 2011. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Wilson Betemit
2001
Youngest Player in the
National League

2002
Succeeded by
Edwin Jackson
2003–04