The White Sox will release Tony Pena, ending a disappointing 2 1/2-year run with the club.
With Octavio Dotel's contract expiring at the end of 2009 and Scott Linebrink having one foot in the abyss of ineffectiveness, the Sox decided to bolster their bullpen for the stretch run and future when they sent Brandon Allen to the Diamondbacks for Pena. The logic behind the move appeared to be that Pena could take over for Dotel in 2010 and beyond as the main right-handed setup guy, while dealing Allen was okay given Dayan Viciedo and Tyler Flowers' success hitting the ball in the minors.
Pena struggled in 2009 with the D-Backs, but he had a fairly high BABIP in a small sample size, so there was some hope when he came to the Sox. And in his first 36 innings with the team to close out the '09 season, Pena fared pretty well.
But 2010 brought about major control issues, which led to an ineffectiveness he was unable to shake. He was shifted to long relief/mop-up/spot-start duties and had a few bright spots -- the innings he threw after Joe West ejected Mark Buehrle were invaluable -- but he never stood as an option for the high-leverage innings he theoretically should've filled when he was brought over in 2009.
Allen hasn't amounted to much, either, compiling a .297 on-base percentage with six home runs in 367 major league plate appearances. He was dealt from Arizona to Oakland this summer and has seen his prospect status nearly evaporate. Allen will be 26 next April for opening day and, barring an unexpected turnaround, will stand as a guy who could never translate his minor league success to the majors.
The Allen-Pena trade was one the Sox were set up to lose -- trading a prospect who has the potential to provide suprlus value for a non-elite relief pitcher is always a dangerous proposition -- but in the end, it was a wash.
The Sox also sent Shane Lindsay, Josh Kinney, Leyson Septimo and and Kyle Cofield packing. Lindsay is relevant because of the great story of his mom traveling from Australia to watch him pitch, while Cofield is relevant because he was the return from Atlanta for Scott Linebrink last offseason.