At the beginning of the offseason, it was evident the Baltimore Orioles had needs. One of those needs was a first baseman that can hit, not only for average, but for power. If they want someone that can hit for average, free-agent first baseman Carlos Pena isn’t the answer.
Pena has been talked about among fans and the media as a possible first baseman for the Orioles for the next year and maybe a year after that. I’m of the belief that there are other options available not named Pena.
It would be a mistake, at this point, to sign Pena, especially with the acquisition of third baseman Mark Reynolds Monday. Pena strikes out a lot and his offensive skills have declined over the past three seasons, although his power numbers are still pretty good. His high in home runs was in 2006, when he 46 and drove in 121 runs. The last three seasons his home run totals have been 31, 39 and 28. Coincidentally, his strike out totals have risen from 142 to 158 while his walk totals have dropped from 103 to 87.
The Orioles should go after a more consistent hitter like Adam LaRoche even though he doesn’t have the power of Pena, he’s more of a contact hitter than Pena and isn’t terrible defensively. Baltimore should let Pena go to another team that’s willing to deal with a first baseman that has declining skills.