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The Pro's and Con's: Bronson Arroyo/Wily Mo Pena

Everyone knows the news by now: the Red Sox traded Bronson Arroyo to Cincinnati for "project" outfielder Wily Mo Pena. It's all over the internet, especially here at Over The Monster where we've got 58 comments and counting on the topic.

Here are my pro's and con's to the trade:

Pro #1
No longer do we have a logjam of starting pitchers, all wanting to start and bitching if they don't (I'm looking at you, Boomer). In a somewhat impossible move, we were at a nice, comfortable point (David Wells on the table, six starts other than him), then we added (Wells rescinding his trade request), and now we trimmed back down (Arroyo to Cincy).

Con #1
The Sox are now less-likely to trade Wells, the pitcher that--I think we can all agree on this--should have packed his bags before Arroyo. Not only is he calling our manager an "idiot" (that right is reserved for us, the blogging army), but he's been a pain in everyone's ass. Especially mine, because I finally get Red Sox tickets and I have to watch Dome Head on April 12 against the Blue Jays.

Pro #2
We finally have a young, power-hitting outfielder in the organization that we get to see develop and become a mainstay in Fenway Park. Here are two quotes from our own OTM members:

SoxDevil :: February 3, 2006

With a glut of middle infielders and a rare surplus of starting pitching, the Red Sox definitely have players they can deal. I hope and have to imagine that the Sox will deal for the future as yazman suggests. I think the best tack to take is to find a young 3B and/or corner outfielders who are still 2-3 years away but show a lot of promise. Buy early, buy low.

cdamon :: December 20, 2005

We need to develop corner outfielders, a firstbasemen and another middle infielder. We will have $ (with Manny coming off the payroll). I would love to see us trade Lowell mid-season for a young corner OF or 1B with power.

Heeeeere's Pena!

Con #2
The Sox, after making the trade, broke the "gentlemen's agreement" which "said" they wouldn't trade Arroyo. But what was really said is they wouldn't trade Arroyo in the near-future because there weren't any plans on the table. It bothers me a little that they did this, but in no way did they lie or break any type of hard-bound agreement. And Arroyo said he doesn't think they broke a promise or anything, he's just hurt.

Pro #3
The Sox have shown that they do care about the future by adding Pena. I know there have been a few comments about the Sox trading players like Hanley Ramirez and Andy Marte, but look at what we have now: Josh Beckett (he's only 25, guys), Coco Crisp (he's 26!), Pena (24 years young), Jonathan Papelbon (also, 25), and Adam Stern who just turned 26. And that is just players we know will make the team. I haven't even mentioned guys that are just a swing of a bat or a fastball away from being an everyday major leaguer like Craig Hansen, Dustin Pedroia, Jon Lester and Manny Delcarmen. We're young, and we're going to stay young.

Con #3
It's going to be the best of times, and the worst of times ... with Wily Mo this season. We'll love him when he hits mammoth home runs, and we'll cringe when he strikes out and can't work a walk. But that's baseball, isn't it? I want to point out something Matt brought up in the comments:

Think Bellhorn, he didn't have any trouble seeing pitches (over 4 per at bat), but he did K a lot. Pena also sees a lot of pitches (3.8 PPA) last season, but doesnt walk as much. That leads me to believe he's getting suckered somehow in his swing, or swinging for the fence every time, something the Reds probably didn't discourage. That P/PA would be 5th highest on the team last year, beating out Mueller, Renteria, Damon, and others. My guess is that it's not like he's just swinging away on every pitch.

That's a little-known fact about Mr. Pena, and I think that's something to keep an eye on.

I think we're going to see a lot of improvements from Pena this season, especially with Papa Jack, Papi and Manny sitting next to him in the dugout. There may be times--there will be times, this is baseball--where Pena struggles, but everyone struggles. He'll hit his home runs and he'll have his strikeouts. But I think the important thing to remember is that Pena makes the Red Sox a better team now and in the future.