ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays have added a familiar bat to the middle of their lineup.
A person with knowledge of the agreement tells The Associated Press that slugger Carlos Pena has agreed to a $7.25 million, one-year contract to return to the team he posted impressive power numbers for four seasons.
The person spoke on condition of anonymity Friday because the club had not announced the agreement.
Pena played with the Rays from 2007-10, helping them reach the playoffs twice before signing as a free agent with the Chicago Cubs for $10 million last season. He also had been sought by the Cleveland Indians, who have been looking to add a powerful bat.
The 33-year-old is the second major addition to the middle of the Rays batting order this winter. The team signed free agent Luke Scott to a $6.5 million, one-year contract last week.
In addition to bolstering the offense with a bat that hit 144 homers and drove in 407 runs during Pena’s first stint in Tampa Bay, the Rays filled the need for an everyday first baseman. Pena won a Gold Glove in 2008, a year after he posted the best offensive numbers of his career with a .282 batting average with 46 homers and 121 RBI’s to earn the AL Comeback Player of the Year award.
The left-handed hitter also drove in 100 of more runs in 2008 and 2009, when he was an All-Star. He left Tampa Bay after slumping to .196 with 28 homers and 84 RBI’s two years ago.
Pena batted .225 with 28 homers and 80 RBIs in his only season with the Cubs. He is a .239 career hitter who has 258 homers and 730 RBI’s in 11 seasons with the Rays, Cubs, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers.