Yesterday the Royals signed starting pitcher Brad Penny to a minor league deal, with an invitation to Spring Training. The 35 year old Penny will have a chance to make the Kansas City roster, and a career that once held so much promise, and then took a steep downward slide, will have one more shot at pitching glory.
When the 2007 Major League season wrapped up, Brad Penny was at the top of his game, poised to turn 30 as one of the National League’s premiere starters. He finished 16-4 with a career-best 3.03 ERA, and his second consecutive All-Star appearance. He finished third in the NL Cy Young voting. He had a World Series championship with the Marlins in 2003, and started the 2006 All-Star game for the NL.
That’s when things unraveled for the starter. In a hurry. After an injury-riddled 2008 season in which he pitched just 94.2 innings, Penny signed a 1-year deal with Boston, and promptly became a fat(ter) slob. After 24 lackluster starts for the Red Sox, in which he pitched to a 5.61 ERA and a 7-8 record, the Sox released him on August 27. A few days later, Penny caught on with the Giants, and had a relatively solid finish to 2009.
In 2010 Penny moved to St. Louis, and had a good start to the year. On May 21 against the Angels, Penny hit a grand slam, the only one of his career, and his third career home run (he hit two dingers in 2003). The very next inning, however, Penny re-injured his oblique, was placed on the DL, and did not pitch again in 2010.
A mediocre 2011 season with Detroit, and the return of injury problems, along with a stop in Japan in 2012, and it looked like Penny was done. He did not pitch in 2013, and I figured he’d retired until yesterday. Mark my words: Get Brad Penny back on the mound, and he will not disappoint again!
The R0yals also took a flyer on mercenary reliever Guillermo Mota yesterday, ensuring that another former Expo will once again be back in baseball next year.
Mota, too, has not pitched since 2012, when he won his second World Series with the Giants, but has made 50 or more appearances 11 times in his 14-year career. He was also a part of the Beckett to Boston for Hanley Ramirez deal, but was promptly waived by Boston upon completion of the trade. Mota will compete with hard-throwing Worcester native Tim Collins to pitch high-leverage innings for the Royals. That is, assuming he makes it out of camp without testing positive for cough medicine again, or getting in another fight with Mike Piazza.