The Houston Astros have signed the first designated hitter in franchise history, as they prepare to move into the American League West beginning the 2013 MLB season. Carlos Pena has signed with the Astros for a one year contract worth up to $4.3 million, provided he can reach his incentives. Pena is expected to see much of his time as designated hitter, although he will still see some time at first base, as the Astros may also do the same with Brett Wallace.
Pena still has some pop to his bat, but his batting average often makes him a liability in any lineup. His 19 home runs were just fine in 2012 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, but his .197 batting average is just a killer in terms of getting things going during a rally or to keep an inning alive.