Tony Pena Trade Puzzling For White Sox…

I have always been a fan of Chicago White Sox GM Ken Williams. He is one of the most aggressive GM’s in baseball and does what ever he can to make the White Sox a competitive team year after year. As a fan, that’s all you can ask for out of your GM.

However, sometimes Williams is too aggressive and makes a move that leaves you scratching your head. Case in point – his latest trade for Tony Pena. In case you haven’t heard, the Chicago White Sox acquired RHP Tony Pena from the Arizona Diamondbacks for top prospect, 1B Brandon Allen.

I am still trying to figure what exactly Ken Williams was thinking here. Tony Pena has a power arm, who is only 27-years old, and will be under the White Sox control until 2012. That is all great and probably what Williams is looking at.

Explain this trade Ken

Explain this trade Ken

Unfortunately for the White Sox, the reality is Tony Pena is nothing special. Or at least hasn’t shown he can be special in the majors. In 2008, Pena gave up 80 hits in 72.2 IP and had a 4.33 ERA. So far in 2009, Pena has given up 41 hits in 34 IP and has a 4.24 ERA. And for a guy who supposed to have a power arm, he doesn’t even strike out a batter per inning (6.5/9 for his career).

Those aren’t the stats of a guy you would give up a top prospect for.

I mean is Tony Pena really a difference maker for the White Sox? I am going to say no. The White Sox already rank 11th in baseball in bullpen ERA going into last night’s action, so it’s not like the guys they have aren’t getting the job done.

Why do I find this trade puzzling for the White Sox besides what I just said? Because they traded Brandon Allen who, according to Baseball America, is the White Sox fourth best prospect. Allen is a masher and figured to take over for Paul Konerko. Konerko, who despite still being productive (he did hit three HR’s last night), is a bit long in the tooth and is a free-agent after the 2010 season.

Allen tore up Double-A pitching this year to the tune of a .290/7/35/.372 batting line in 61 games. He has only hit .246 since his promotion to Triple-A, but you also have to consider he has only played in 15 games. My guess is that Allen will be the starting 1B in Arizona at some point in 2010.

You are going to trade your first baseman of the future and fourth best prospect for a marginal middle-relief pitcher? Ken Williams must know something we don’t.

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3 Responses to “Tony Pena Trade Puzzling For White Sox…”

  1. Michael Malczewski Says:

    Yes, williams does know something that you may or may not know. And that is pitching is what wins. Pena might be average, and he may be above average once Don Cooper works with him. Pena also replaces Gobble, who wasn’t getting the job done. The Sox are in a division that is very winnable and Pena does add some value without costing much. Sure, Allen can prove to be something some day, but he is still a prospect and Konerko can play first at a high level for at least 3-5 more years which gives Williams time to find another future first baseman. He is looking to win this year as there is an opportunity…and the strentgh of this opportunity will depend on the health and strength of the entire pitching staff.

    • Adam Bernacchio Says:

      Thanks for reading and your comment Michael,

      I see your point. However, Konerko’s contract expires after 2010 and I doubt the White Sox will resign him. Do you think they will?

      I do agree with you that the AL Central is a very winnable division and the White Sox have just as good a chance as anyone. I just don’t see how Pena is going to make that big of a difference.

      I guess time will only tell

  2. Ron Bauer Says:

    Just happened on this. I have been almost obsessing over the Pena acquisition ever since it was made, for the all reasons you gave – you do not give up a top prospect for an average to below-average player, because such players are easily obtained more cheaply. With the added benefit of hindsight, we can see that Pena was a disaster for the Sox. Perhaps there is a flaw in his delivery that can be corrected in the off-season, but Don Cooper is not a magician – for every Matt Thornton, one can point to at least one Mike Macdougal

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