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Twins Have Interest In OF Wily Mo Pena

He's destroyed Japanese pitching for a couple years and is considering a return to MLB.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Berardino apparently has the Far East covered right now. After reporting yesterday that the Twins won the bid for Korean LHP Hyeon-jong Yang, today he's announced that the Twins and outfielder Wily Mo Pena are both interested in each other.

Pena originally debuted for the Cincinnati Reds in 2002 and played parts of 8 seasons from 2002 to 2011 with the Reds, Red Sox, Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Mariners. A career .250/.303/.445 hitter, he was always known for his prodigious raw power but didn't stick in the major leagues because he struck out 3 out of every 10 at-bats with poor plate discipline. He also was a very poor defensive outfielder, which you might expect out of a guy that is 6'3", 260 lbs. Basically, he was a righthanded Adam Dunn, except Dunn knew how to draw a walk.

After drawing little interest from MLB teams in 2012, Pena chose to go to Japan and he continued mashing taters. He hit .262/.339/.464 with 54 homers over 3 seasons, and after being declared a free agent this offseason, he chose to pursue a return to America. The Twins have shown interest in Pena, perhaps as a cheaper alternative to other righthanded, defensively-challenged outfielders like Torii Hunter, Corey Hart, Mike Morse, Nelson Cruz, and Jonny Gomes.

Now, a defensive alignment of Pena in left and Oswaldo Arcia in right is going to be scary. However, Jordan Schafer is still on the roster and I'd imagine that he would be Pena's defensive replacement in the late innings. Still, Pena projects better as a DH but that's not likely to happen with Kennys Vargas and Josmil Pinto around. Of course, there's also the possibility with Pena becoming a late-inning pinch-hitter, sort of in the mold that Jim Thome was supposed to provide before Justin Morneau's concussion forced him into everyday duty a few years ago.

Yes, Pena is strikeout-prone and he won't walk very much, but the Twins already look to have quite a bit of power in the lineup with Arcia, Vargas, Plouffe, and Dozier, and the addition of Pena could make an already solid lineup look even more dangerous. If he could stick and Miguel Sano debuts this season, the lineup would then feature up to five hitters with 20-home run power and six if you feel Plouffe is capable himself, making the offense very intriguing for the upcoming season.