In the 13 years of his major league career, this may be the biggest Spring Training for Carlos Pena, as he is attempting to make the Los Angeles Angels‘ Opening Day roster.
The veteran first baseman has had his fair share of struggles at the plate this Spring Training, as he is yet to record a hit through six games by going o-for-7 with three strikeout and two walks in nine total plate appearances. Pena was signed to a minor-league deal by Los Angeles this offseason in hopes that he could become a possible backup to Albert Pujols, but his lack of production at the plate so far this Spring Training does not help make his case for a roster spot.
Pena’s fall in his production does not come to much of a surprise at this point in his career, as he has been in a steady decline over the past three seasons. Last year, it all came to a head for the 35 year old, as he hit just .207 with eight home runs, 25 RBIs and 89 strikeouts in just 85 games for the Houston Astros. He would be released by the Astros in July and play in only four games with the Kansas City Royals, where he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts.
So, with that said, the Halos knew they were picking up a player who is on a steep decline that has seemed to progress further to the point where his ability to play in the majors may be nearing an end. However, there is still plenty of baseball to be played this Spring Training, which gives the veteran first baseman a chance to prove that he still can be a contributor to a major league ball club.
There is no question that Pena has proven over his career that he can be a power bat in the lineup, but have those days done for the former All-Star?
Only time will tell, and Pena has this Spring Training to show that he can still play.