D-backs Trade Tony Pena for Brandon Allen
Brandon Allen (Photo: Dana Brand)
Senior Editor
Posted Jul 7, 2009

The Arizona Diamondbacks have traded right-handed pitcher Tony Pena to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for minor league first baseman Brandon Allen. This latest swap between general managers Josh Byrnes and Kenny Williams nets Arizona a strong, athletic kid who projects to have an impact bat.

23-year old Brandon Allen has split time this season between Birmingham (AA) and Charlotte (AAA), combining to hit .281 (85-for-302) with 16 doubles, three triples, eight home runs, and 43 RBI. In 2008, his 67 extra-base hits split between Winston-Salem (Hi-A) and Birmingham (AA) were tied for seventh in the minors. Over his six-year career, he has hit a combined .259 (545-for-2,101) with 124 doubles, 19 triples, 84 home runs and, 344 RBI in 569 games.

A fifth-round selection in the 2004 First-Year Player Draft, Allen entered this season as the sixth-best prospect in the White Sox organization, according to the Scout.com Baseball Prospects Guide.  Always known for his power, Allen displayed another facet to his game last year when he stole 17 bases between two levels.

"You don't want to be known as a base-clogger out there," Allen said this spring. "You want to be an athlete. That's what I try to do. Every year, I run the bleachers and work on my explosion. Speed can get you hits, even for a big guy like me. I take pride in my average speed that I possess."

Allen will be assigned to Triple-A Reno, and the D-backs will add another bullpen arm to their 25-man roster prior to tomorrow's game against San Diego.  This trade bodes well for pitching prospects in the Diamondbacks organization, but spells trouble for older first base prospects in the system, such as Bryan Byrne and Joshua Whitesell.

"We wanted another big left-handed bat to grow with our core, ideally a first baseman," D-backs general manager Josh Byrnes said.

Tony Pena went 5-3 with a 4.24 ERA (16 ER in 34.0 IP) in 37 games with the D-backs this season. He totaled a 16-13 record with a 4.08 ERA (101 ER in 222.2 IP) in 209 career games with Arizona.  After setting high expectations with a 2.17 ERA in the first half of 2007, Pena has been merely a 4-4.50 ERA pitcher.  Those 49.2 first-half innings may have taken a greater toll on the youngster than he or the D-backs would have us believe.   Pena finishes his D-backs career with a franchise-record 63 holds.

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