Paul Wezner, Senior Editor
If Carlos Pena hasn't been the most maddening player in Detroit sports over the past few years, then he's a close second to Joey Harrington. Both were acquired as the centerpieces to major turnarounds for both franchises, and both are now exiting as colossal failures in that regard. Was I disappointed that we released Pena? Absolutely. The talent potential he has is incredible, and for about two months every year, he truly looks to be the 35-40 home run middle-of-the-order hitter. So, in that regard, I'm disappointed, but it was a move the Tigers had to make. The stats don't lie - Pena hit just .160 in 50 at bats. With Chris Shelton and Dmitri Young already on the team, there was little room for him at first. However, back in February, I would have started working Pena in the corner spots in the outfield to see if he could be effective as a reserve in the corner. Because while it's tough to justify keeping Pena at his pricetag, at this point, we're going to head into the season with two utility infielders (Omar Infante and Ramon Santiago), a weak-hitting backup catcher (Vance Wilson), and a weak-hitting speedy backup outfielder (Nook Logan). That's four bats, none of which is potent off the bench, and only Logan can hit from the left side of the plate (and not effectively at that). In an already righty dominated lineup, a powerful lefty bat off the bench would be valuable - if he could have proved able of playing in the outfield, he likely would have been a keeper. But alas, the Carlos Pena comes to a sad end in Detroit. Now wait for him to slug .500 for the Devil Rays this summer.
Mark Anderson, Minor League Editor
Despite the fact that the Tigers already have Shelton and Young on the roster who can man first base, I think the release of Pena was a mistake. The Tigers have yet to address their glaring need for some left-handed punch, and with the bench looking quite meak for this season, Pena could have been a valuable player. Carlos Pena is an enigma, no doubt, but that doesn't change the fact that he could have helped this team in a reserve role and as a defensive replacement late in games.
Jason Avery, Amateur Baseball Editor
I wasn't surprised or disappointed by Pena's release. Certainly, he has the power to make for a good left-handed bat on the bench, but with Chris Shelton and Dmitri Young ahead of him at first base, I just don't see where he would've fit in. Another thing to consider is that Magglio Ordonez and Pudge Rodriguez could also get DH at-bats when they aren't playing in the field, so that cuts his playing time down even further. If Pena could handle the outfield, where the Tigers have open spots, I could see a case to keep him, but he has never played there. Dave Dombrowski was quoted in one of the stories on Pena as having a couple of teams to try and make a trade with, but the Tigers almost certainly would've had to pay pretty much all of Pena's salary and not got much in return, so I think the money saved by releasing him gives them a little more flexibility to make another move this week, should the need arise.
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