Former slugger Carlos Pena signs contract, retires as a Ray
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays today signed first baseman Carlos Pena to an honorary contract, and the 14-year veteran immediately announced his retirement from Major League Baseball.
"After 17 years of living my childhood dream, I am honored to walk away from the game I love, with the team that I most cherished," said Pena. "The Tampa Bay Rays will forever hold a very special place in my heart. It felt like home. It felt like family!"
"Carlos played such a key role during the transformation of our franchise to the Rays," said Rays President, Baseball Operations Matt Silverman. "His contributions both as a player and a person can still be felt today. The respect he has for our organization and the connection he feels to Tampa Bay and our fans is heartwarming. It is with great pride that we welcome him back to the Rays organization."
Pena spent more time in a Rays uniform (five seasons, 2007-10, 2012) than with any other club, and they were the most productive seasons of his career. His 163 home runs set a Rays franchise record, which has since been surpassed by Evan Longoria (203). Pena also ranks among the club’s career leaders with 468 RBI (fourth), a .483 slugging percentage (third; min. 1,200 PA), 460 walks (third) and 402 runs scored (fifth). In addition, his three seasons of at least 100 RBI are most in club history, and his five grand slams are tied with Ben Zobrist for the franchise record.
Pena first joined Tampa Bay as a non-roster invite to spring training in 2007. He was reassigned to minor league camp on March 30, but an injury to another player that same day created a spot for him on the Opening Day roster. He went on to compile perhaps the most prolific offensive season in Rays history, setting club records (which still stand today) of 46 home runs, 121 RBI, 103 walks, a .411 on-base percentage and .627 slugging percentage. That season he was named American League Comeback Player of the Year by Sporting News and became the first Ray ever to win a Silver Slugger Award. The following year, he became the first Ray to win a Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
From 2007-10, Pena ranked sixth in the majors with 144 home runs and led the Rays in each of those four seasons. In 2009, he was named to the AL All-Star Team and tied New York’s Mark Teixeira for the AL home run lead (39). He was a key member of both Rays clubs to win the American League East (2008 and 2010). After signing with the Chicago Cubs for the 2011 season, Pena returned to the Rays on a one-year contract for 2012. He spent time with eight major league clubs, most recently the Texas Rangers in 2014. His 286 career home runs rank 10th in major league history among players born in the Dominican Republic.
Active in the community for the duration of his career, Pena served as a spokesperson for Big Brothers Big Sisters. He and his wife, Pamela, donated to the Rays Baseball Foundation, helped raise funds for the January 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, and were advocates for FundaciÃ³n Lumen 2000, a Christian foundation that provides housing for foster children. For his leadership on and off the field, he was honored as the Rays recipient of the 2008 Roberto Clemente Award as well as the 2007 and 2009 Paul C. Smith Champion Award, chosen by the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.
Carlos, 37, is currently a studio analyst for MLB Network. He and Pamela reside in Orlando, Fla., with their daughter, Isabella, and son, Nicholas.