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Wily Mo's "Play me, Trade Me" Demand Music To Bowden's Ears

[November 26th] -- What's more crowded than the Beltway at rush-hour? The Cincinnati Reds outfield. Well, I guess that's a slight exaggeration, but to the Reds outfielders, it must feel that way sometimes. A combination of Ken Griffey Jr.'s ongoing injury problems along with several young players all blossoming at the same time has made playing time very hard to come by for Wily Mo Pena, Austin Kearns and Ryan Freel. Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. (when healthy) hold down two of the three outfield positions, leaving three players to battle for the final position.

That just won't work.

Wily Mo Pena, the subject of trade rumors for three seasons, has had enough. He wants to start, or he wants out. "The best thing they (the Reds) can do is to play me or trade me because I no longer want to be on the bench," said the 23 year old from his home in the Dominican Republic. He spent part of the 2005 season injured, limiting him to 99 games. He batted .254 with 19 home runs and 54 rbi's. Up until now, Pena accepted his role as a bench player. But no more.

Pena came out of nowhere in 2004, hitting 26 homers in only 336 at bats. Pena is like Brad Wilkerson in that he has a high strikeout total to go along with a low batting average. But, unlike Wilkerson, Pena has real power. But when he's not hitting home runs, he's not getting on base either as his lifetime .303 on base percentage would indicate.

Nationals' general manager Jim Bowden must have called the Reds moments after hearing of Pena's remarks. He traded Drew Henson to the Yankees to acquire Pena. He's always liked his talent and has had talks with Cincinnati since joining the Nationals about the possibility of trading for him.

Do the Nationals need Wily Mo Pena? Do they really want him? If Brad Wilkerson is traded for a lead-off hitter, than sure, Pena's power could help the team. But there is no way that the Nationals can win with both Wilkerson and Pena in the outfield.

That said, Bowden has done stranger things. But he really, really likes Wily Mo Pena.

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