Originally Posted by Johnny Footstool
Here's a thought: maybe you're undervaluing him. Maybe years of having below replacement level pitching has led us to overvalue mediocrity on the mound. Maybe witnessing the impotence of DanO has left us so hungry for any action that we're willing to throw support to an unnecessary and disadvantageous deal.
Just a thought.
Maybe I (along with others) am undervaluing Pena -- but his lifetime .303 OBP scares the bejesus out of me, because I don't see him in possession of the skills required to raise that. Any talk of Pena turning into a superstar or even a highly productive player require him becoming he's not: a hitter capable of showing discpline at the plate, working himself into hitters counts to see better pitches, and increaseing his walk rates. This has been a problem that has plagued Pena throughout his professional career -- yet there are many (on here, and elsewhere) who seemingly expect Pena to wake up tomorrow with this skill set and begin mashing the ball.
The only way his OBP goes up is if he ups his hit rate or his walk rate, and I see no evidence of either one happening. His walk-rates are remarkably unchanged over the past 3 years, and there's nothing to indicate that he's going to start getting more hits either. A potentially troubling "lurking indicator" for Pena is that, although he's a power hitter, he's played his entire career as a ground-ball hitter. For his career, Pena has a 1.44/1 GB/FB ratio. Last season, that number was 1.45, which was higher than any of the top 40 HR hitters in baseball. Most good power hitters lurk around the 1/1 ratio, with most dipping into the more flyball territory of .9/1 and .8/1 (Adam Dunn posting a robust .72/1). So, not only is Pena not making enough contact, he's making the wrong type of contact for the game he has to play.
From where I sit, Pena was highly overrated -- a powerball ticket appealing to someone who doesn't know any better, and the only question for the Reds was whether or not they were going to find someone willing to overrate him enough to pay any sort of ransom to get him. They ended up with Bronson Arroyo, and I'm happy with getting a league-average pitcher back (if he is, indeed, league average for the Reds) for someone I feel had nowhere to go but down in value. Maybe I am drinking the residue of kool-aid from the bottom of the Jimbo glass and maybe I am being too excited about mediocrity, but I'm also acutely aware that even mediocrity would've made last year (and the year before) fun seasons to watch the Reds instead of painful exercises that they became.