07/07/09 10:29 PM ET
White Sox acquire Pena from D-backs
Addition of right-hander bolsters bullpen stockpile
By Scott Merkin / MLB.com
Little did any of the media members know at the time of this chat that the White Sox general manager already had one of those upgrades in place.
The White Sox acquired right-handed reliever Tony Pena from the D-backs in exchange for Minor League first baseman Brandon Allen. Pena can serve as a right-handed setup to setup men Scott Linebrink and Matt Thornton, allowing manager Ozzie Guillen to move up Octavio Dotel in the bullpen rotation if necessary.
Pena, who can't be a free agent until after 2012, also can step into Dotel's role if he leaves via free agency after this season.
"Factor in performance and cost, and a few teams were interested, but we felt like this was the right deal," said Arizona general manager Josh Byrnes of the trade. "We believe that he's going to pitch better than he has recently for us."
Through 37 relief appearances for Arizona this season, Pena, 27, is 5-3 with a 4.24 ERA and one save. He led the team with eight holds and ranked second in games pitched. He has a 16-13 career mark with a 4.08 ERA, including 63 holds in 209 relief appearances.
Right-handed hitters have hit just .224 lifetime against Pena. His best season came in 2007, when he had a 3.27 ERA and gave up just 63 hits over 85 1/3 innings.
"I feel good," Pena said. "I'll go there. It's the same thing. Play baseball."
To make room for Pena, the White Sox designated left-hander Jimmy Gobble for assignment. That move gives southpaw Aaron Poreda even greater importance in the bullpen, with the rookie allowing his first run in seven big league games Tuesday.
But Guillen was excited to have another plus-arm at his disposal, even if he was humorously perplexed at first by the Tony Pena that his team actually picked up.
"I got a little confused because there are three Tony Penas in baseball, and I thought, 'We don't need a shortstop,'" said Guillen with a laugh, referring to the shortstop with the Royals and the bench coach with the Yankees. "Then I said, 'I don't think we should fire our first-base coach.'
"Finally, they said Tony Pena from the Diamondbacks. I don't know too much about him. Kenny gave us a great scouting report. He feels really good about it. But I need that spot. We need somebody to fix that hole."
Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.