ST. PETERSBURG, FL—The Tampa Bay Rays have signed free agent first baseman Carlos Peña to a one-year, $7.25 million contract. The left-handed power hitter returns to the Rays, where he played four seasons (2007-10) before signing with the Chicago Cubs in 2011.
Peña, 33, is the Rays all-time home run leader with 144. His .516 slugging percentage with the Rays is best in club history, and he ranks among franchise leaders in RBI (407, third), walks (373, second) and on-base percentage (.368, second). He was named an American League All-Star in 2009.
In 2011 he led the Cubs with 28 home runs and 101 walks, while batting .225 (111-for-493) with 27 doubles, a .357 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage. He established career highs in games played (153) and at-bats (493). His 101 walks ranked third in the National League and fifth in the majors.
“Carlos is one of the most accomplished players in team history and he is a great fit for our club in 2012 both on and off the field,” said Rays Executive Vice President, Baseball Operations Andrew Friedman. “He adds to our offense with his power while maintaining the high defensive standard we seek.”
Peña has led his team in home runs for five consecutive seasons (2007-11), averaging 34 home runs, 98 RBI and 95 walks per year during this stretch. His 172 total home runs in that span are sixth most in the majors behind Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols, Mark Teixeira and Miguel Cabrera, while his 474 walks rank fourth after Fielder, Adam Dunn and Pujols.
In 2007—Peña’s first season with the Rays—he set club records with 46 home runs, 121 RBI, 103 walks and a .411 on-base percentage. That year he also earned an AL Silver Slugger Award for first base and was named Sporting News AL Comeback Player of the Year. In 2008 he earned the AL Gold Glove Award for first base. The Silver Slugger and Gold Glove awards were the first ever won by a Rays player. In 2009 Peña tied for the AL home run title with Teixeira despite missing the final 25 games of the season due to injury. In addition, the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America selected him as the Most Valuable Ray in 2007 and the Paul C. Smith Champion Award winner in 2007 and 2009.
Peña helped lead the Rays to the postseason in 2008 and 2010.
A veteran of 11 major league seasons, he spent time with the Texas Rangers (2001), Oakland Athletics (2002), Detroit Tigers (2002-05) and Boston Red Sox (2006) prior to joining the Rays in 2007. He has amassed 258 career home runs.