This sounds like exactly the type of move that Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos was talking about on Friday when he said that virtually all reports of the Jays being interested in a player have been false.
The Winter Meetings are a different environment for trade talk though, as they provide plenty of opportunities for reporters to leak news because of all of the face-to-face discussions that take place.
How many websites reported the Jays were interested in Rajai Davis, Carlos Villanueva, and Brett Lawrie? There was no “rumor stage” of the news, it just went straight to reporting that the Jays had made a trade.
That being said, MLB Trade Rumors reported about 15 minutes ago that the Toronto Blue Jays are “in hard” for Carlos Pena.
Pena, 32, is coming off the worst season of his career where he posted a .196/.325/.407 line in 144 games for the Tampa Bay Rays. While he did manage to clobber 28 home runs and 84 RBI, he struck out 158 times.
One season removed from a 39 HR, 100 RBI campaign in 2009, Pena’s batting average and on-base percentage have declined in each of the last four seasons, and he has struck out at least 23% of the time in every season since 2004.
The 6’2”, 225-pound native of the Dominican Republic is a Scott Boras client, and it would be interesting to see what kind of contract he would be seeking.
Pena is a definite power threat at the plate, and perhaps the tutelage of Dwayne Murphy regarding the “wait for the pitcher to make his mistake of the at-bat and capitalize” philosophy could help Pena in 2011 if he was in a Blue Jays uniform.
The Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs have also been reported as having heavy interest in the free-swinging Pena.