Jon Heyman may have had fans thinking it was 2007 instead of 2017 when he announced that the Indians signed Wily Mo Pena, but it was not an illusion.
Heyman reported that the Indians signed Pena to a minor league deal, with the ability to earn a spot on the major league squad.
The news is surprising given the fact Pena has not played in an MLB game since 2011, which came after being out of the league from 2009-2010. 2007 was the last time he was seeing regular time for an MLB team, when he played in 110 total games between the Boston Red Sox and the Washington Nationals.
During his time in the majors, he was known for hitting some absolute moonshot home runs, although he could never piece together an entire season of success.
Pena has been playing in Japan since 2012, with his name likely only coming up in conversations where two baseball fans seek to come up with random players from the past.
It would be hard to imagine Pena cracking the 25-man roster out of spring training, as he would likely only fit in as a first baseman/DH, with those two spots firmly held down by Carlos Santana and Edwin Encarnacion.
But as Indians fans know, anything is possible with this team after last year’s magical season. Then again, the Pena signing could just be another in a string of notable signings made by teams all across the MLB every Spring. Players are often given chances to make a comeback via a minor league deal, but few turn out to have heroic endings.