Thursday, April 27, 2006

Wily Molicious

A true connoisseur, Wily Mo Peña carefully tastes each bat before he uses it to make sure it's properly seasoned.

Props to Wily Mo for getting the only run of the game last night on his second home run of the year, a line drive shot to deep center. Robin and I had a fifteen-minute conversation yesterday about whether or not the Peña trade was a mistake for Boston or not, with Bronson Arroyo now 4 and 0 for Cincinnati after pitching eight innings of one hit, no run ball on Monday night. My stance is that the trade makes sense for Boston in the long run. If Wily Mo learns to stop swinging at everything that comes across the plate and gets better at hitting righties, he could be the next Papi and can step in to fill the shoes Manny will leave when his contract is up in a few years – and it will take a while for Peña to get to that level. Bronson Arroyo is certainly a good pitcher, but Wily Mo Peña has the potential to be a great power hitter, given the right instruction and more practice.

The instruction will come, but Tito seems inclined to give Peña the practice now. Perhaps because he’s displeased with the offensive performance of Willie Harris and Dustan Mohr and doesn’t want to waste Nixon’s newfound ability to hit both sides of the mound (his OPS splits are within 20 points of each other), Francona is hinting that Wily Mo might start some games in centerfield instead of platooning with Nixon in right, citing the need to give Peña more at-bats to see a more consistent power stroke and to do so before Coco comes back from the DL. I’m all for it; it might reduce the number of games where the offense takes a break for the night, which wouldn’t be such a bad thing.

I think I convinced Robin, but every jack Peña hits certainly helps my position, so thank you, Wily Mo, from the bottom of my opportunistic little heart. But we also want to know what you think – was the trade a good idea? Will it pay off in the long run? Leave a comment about your thoughts.