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.
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.