Cliff Pennington

Cliff Pennington

39-Year-Old Second Baseman2B
 Free Agent  
2024 Fantasy Outlook
There was no outlook written for Cliff Pennington in 2024. Check out the latest news below for more on his current fantasy value.
$Signed a one-year, minor-league contract with the Yankees in April of 2019.
Released from contract
2BFree Agent  
June 4, 2019
Pennington was activated from the 7-day injured list and released from his contract Tuesday, Conor Foley of The Times-Tribune reports.
ANALYSIS
Pennington had been on the injured list with a hamstring injury, but he's been released by the Yankees organization following his activation, per Foley. The 35-year-old hit .196 over 92 at-bats for the RailRiders.
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Pennington had a decent year for the Angels as a bench infielder, putting up a .253/.306/.330 slash line with respectable defense in 217 plate appearances. It was enough to keep him on the team, and will probably be enough to keep him in the majors next year, but his utility in fantasy remains limited to very deep leagues. The veteran infielder hasn't received more than 300 plate appearances since 2012, and nothing he's done in recent years has encouraged teams to expand his role. Pennington could produce a respectable batting average for a part-time middle infielder, but is unlikely to offer much in any other category. He hasn't stolen more than three bases since 2014 and hasn't hit more than three home runs since 2012.
Pennington's calling card was always his defensive versatility more so than his offensive capabilities, but no matter what way you slice it, 2016 showed more decline. The utility infielder's troubles began right out of the gate, as he injured his hamstring in the early going. Then, once it seemed like he was back to full health, he aggravated the injury just a few days after being activated off the disabled list. Even when he was active, however, his production was dreadful. The 32-year-old stumbled to the finish line with a .209 batting average while striking out nearly 30 percent of the time. Pennington is slated to spend the 2017 season as a reserve infielder for the Angels, which limits his already low ceiling for fantasy production. Extenuating circumstances are needed for him to make virtually any fantasy impact going forward.
Pennington was brought in by the Blue Jays at the deadline and went from being a league average player to an emergency fill-in that struggled mightily. In 72 games with the Diamondbacks, he hit for a .237/.314/.281 slash line. However, his real value came in his utility defensively, playing second base, short stop, third base and left field. When acquired by the Blue Jays, he continued providing that same flexibility, but hit a woeful .160 in 75 at-bats. Pennington will have a utility role after signing with the Angels. He won't offer much fantasy value, as the career .245 hitter hasn't hit above .260 since 2011 and has just 30 career home runs. While he stole 29 bases in 2010, he's stolen just 11 total bases since 2013.
Even on a crowded infield depth chart in Arizona last season, Pennington managed to find 201 plate appearances while moving between second base, shortstop and third base. Defensively, he's a very good option in the middle infield, but there have always been questions about his ability to consistently hit big league pitching. Pennington carried a 10 percent walk rate last season, his best mark since 2008 with Oakland. He parlayed that patience into a .340 on-base percentage, fueled by a .265/.368/.429 line against right-handed pitching. As a switch-hitter with the versatility necessary to capably cover three infield positions, Pennington could find his way into brief stretches of regular at-bats while predominantly making spot starts once or twice a week in 2015.
A player more known for his glove and utility, Pennington had a typical year, hitting .242 with just one home run and two stolen bases. It's hard to expect anything more than that from him, as most of his real-life value rests in his glove and his flexibility. The D-Backs have a number of young options capable of handling a middle-infield spot in the big leagues, so Pennington's days in Arizona are likely numbered.
Pennington started the year as the A's starting shortstop, but ended it playing second base after the A's acquired Stephen Drew. Pennington fell off the table offensively in 2012 with career lows across the board. He is a very serviceable defensive infielder, but is better suited as a part-time utility infielder rather than a guy who plays every day. He was traded to Arizona in November and general manager Kevin Towers noted at the time of the trade that he sees Pennington as an everyday player. Beyond being a decent stolen-base threat in a deep NL-only league, Pennington does not offer much for fantasy owners even with the move into a more hitter-friendly environment.
Pennington took a pretty good step backwards in 2011, with his already limited power failing to return following offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum. His slash line and run production was nearly identical to 2010, but he saw a decent dip in K:BB rate and saw his stolen-base totals cut in half from 29 to 14. He showed some signs of life as the season waned, including going 8-for-8 in steal attempts the final two months, but his lifetime .324 OBP doesn't play well if the A's find themselves looking for a new hitter to place in the No. 2 spot in the order following the departure of Coco Crisp.
Pennington struggled with a sore shoulder, eventually requiring surgery in the offseason to repair a torn labrum, which sapped what little power he had as the season progressed. He's expected to be close to healthy by the time spring training starts, and his 29 steals from the shortstop position give him some value in traditional 4x4 or 5x5 leagues if you can cover for power elsewhere.
Pennington's batting eye took a hit last season after a much better 2008. His power ticked upward with three homers and 20 extra-base hits, after he showed very little power throughout his minor-league career. A strong September (.313/.395/.510) in a full-time role has convinced the A's to not strongly pursue another shortstop via free agency, so the starting gig should be Pennington's to lose when spring opens. There's very little internal competition as well, so things are set up well to get Pennington his first full season in the majors. He's swiped 58 bases total the past two seasons in the minors, so there's a definite 20-plus steals upside if he hangs onto the job as expected.
Pennington continues to show a good eye at the plate, drawing 93 walks in 440 at-bats in the minors, but he doesn't have any power to speak off. With the A's already re-upping Mark Ellis for two more years, it's clear that Pennington's not a lock to become a lineup fixture down the road. He could stick around as the utility infielder with his ability to handle three spots in the infield following the departure of Donnie Murphy.
Pennington made his professional debut at Low-A Kane County after the A's made him their first pick in the June draft. He showed limited power but a good eye at the plate and base-stealing instincts.
More Fantasy News
Hits injured list
2BNew York Yankees  
Undisclosed
May 20, 2019
Pennington (undisclosed) has been placed on the 7-day injured list, Conor Foley of The Times-Tribune reports.
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Joins Yankees on minors deal
2BNew York Yankees  
April 5, 2019
Pennington signed a minor-league contract with the Yankees on Friday.
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Let go by Athletics
2BFree Agent  
March 30, 2019
Pennington was released by the Athletics on Saturday, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
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Rejoins Athletics
2BOakland Athletics  
February 15, 2019
Pennington signed a minor-league deal with the Athletics on Friday that includes an invitation to major-league spring training, Jane Lee of MLB.com reports.
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Signed to minor-league deal
2BTexas Rangers  
May 18, 2018
Pennington signed a minor league contract with the Rangers on Friday.
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