By C. Trent Rosecrans
Pena hit 26 home runs as a 22-year-old for the Reds in 2004, but since then has been overwhelmed by Major League pitching in stints with the Red Sox, Nationals, Diamondbacks and Mariners. Pena was in independent baseball as recently as 2010 before signing the Padres in 2010 and then with the Diamondbacks.
Pena's signing would be a footnote if it weren't for his great name and his prodigious power -- but Pena, when he makes contact, can put the ball in seats, and beyond.
While Pena managed to hit just .204/.250/.416 with seven home runs in 120 plate appearances in the big leagues in 2011, he dominated in the minors, hitting .358/.440/.712 with 25 home runs in 332 plate appearances with Triple-A Reno and Tacoma. Japan is probably the best option for his career, and certainly for his wallet. The report says he could get a two-year deal worth 400 million Yen (currently about $5.15 million), plus incentives and will be announced in the next couple of days. Will he succeed? There are plenty of former big leaguers who do succeed in Japan, but there are just as many (if not more) who fail. At the very least, Hawks batting practices could be a lot more fun to watch next season.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.