Tony Peña was sent to the White Sox in exchange for minor league infielder Brandon Allen.
Allen, 23, batted .281 combined for Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this year, with eight home runs and 43 RBIs in 302 at-bats. Baseball America rated him the best power-hitting prospect in the White Sox's farm system.He started off the season in Birmingham, where he batted .290/.372/.452, an impressive performance in what is generally regarded as a pitcher's park. That merited him a promotion to Triple-A, where his numbers have been okay, if nothing special - 246/.246/.361. Said Josh Byrnes, "We wanted another big left-handed bat to grow with our core, primarily a first baseman. Brandon Allen was a guy we’ve been following pretty closely for a while... He definitely has power, is a very good athlete."
Allen is still pretty young, having only turned 23 in February, so the general consensus is he can be left to develop for the rest of the season in Reno. No point rushing him to the majors, after all. I do like the improvement in his K:BB ratio over the years. In 2006 at A-ball, he struck out 126 times, while walking only 22. The following year, at the same level, it was 124:39, and in 2008, between A and Double-A, it was the same number of K's, but the walks leaped up to sixty. This season, so far, he's 60:30, so the trend is still going the right way.
Peña had struggled badly of late in the bullpen for Arizona, after a solid start. He had a 1.27 ERA after his appearance on May 23, which covered 22 games and 21.1 innings. But in the fifteen games since then, he has pitched 12.2 innings, with opponents batting a frightening .362 off him, and an OPS near a thousand. That resulted in an ERA over this time of 9.24; probably the breaking point in fan tolerance was the game against Seattle, where allowed a pinch-hit, game tying homer to Ken Griffey.
Overall, however, his numbers for the Diamondbacks have been pretty solid, with an ERA+ of 114, and a K:BB ratio better than 2:1. He also is under control through 2012, so will be a cost-controlled player for some time to come. Said Byrnes, "our bullpen as a whole wasn’t performing to the extent that we thought it was untouchable. We like a lot of the individual parts of our bullpen. As a group, they haven't performed as well as we want them to. I think that lent itself to trying to shuffle the mix a little bit." That process certainly started today.