The Tampa Bay Rays currently own baseball's best record at 39-21, but it could be better. How? If Carlos Pena decided to hit. His .186 batting average has been deviling the team all season long, so much so that manager Joe Madden was forced to drop him in the order. Pena is in a contract year, and many thought he'd be playing himself into big money. 30+ homeruns and 100+ rbi (his current pace) will get you a nice chunk of change, but hovering around the Mendoza Line will not.
Low batting averages are nothing new to the 32 year old slugging first baseman. After reaching a career high in 2007 (.282) he's seen a steady drop thereafter- .247, .227, and now .186. Real baseball fans know getting hits isn't everything though, as extra base knocks and getting on base play a vital role in a player's value. Once again, Pena has a career best OPS in 2007 (1.038) and has declined since- .871, .893, .718. What does this mean for his payday when he hits the free agent market this upcoming offseason? Well, he was probably in line for a 3 year deal worth $30-40 million, but now he'll be lucky to get a 1 year deal worth $5 million. Homeruns and rbi are great, but teams want a guy that can get some singles mixed in there too...Dave Kingman types aren't a hot commodity.
The strangest thing about Pena's seasons is that he has more rbi than hits (41:38). If this continued he'd be one of the only players in the history of the game to have more rbi than hits with a minimum of 100 apiece.