Blog Entry

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

Posted on: December 8, 2010 1:53 am
Edited on: December 8, 2010 4:01 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Moving to plug their hole at first base, the Cubs have agreed to terms with first baseman Carlos Pena on a one-year, $10 million deal that is expected to be announced Wednesday, sources with knowledge of the discussions said late Tuesday night.

Pena, part of Tampa Bay's surge toward the top of the AL East during the past three seasons, gives the Cubs the first baseman they need, the left-handed bat they desire and an excellent defender. Pena was awarded a Gold Glove in 2008.

A 10-year veteran, Pena over the past two seasons has become more of an all-or-nothing hitter. He slumped to a career-worst .196 batting average with a .325 on-base percentage over 144 games for the Rays in 2010, though he did hit 28 homers with 84 RBI.

He is just two seasons removed from a 39-homer, 100-RBI campaign, and in helping Tampa Bay to its first-ever World Series in 2007, Pena hit .282 with a career-high 46 home runs and 121 RBIs.

Among other things, the Cubs are hoping hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo can help Pena make more contact.

"Even if he hits .230 or .240," Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said. "If he hits .240, that might take him to 40 Johnsons [homers].

"He's a good defensive player, he's good in the clubhouse, he's great in the community."

Looking to re-tool last season's highly disappointing club under new manager Mike Quade, the Cubs this winter need a first baseman and are planning to add pitching depth -- a starting or relief pitcher, whichever comes their way and makes the most sense.


Since: Aug 20, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:38 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

Guess signing Pena to a one year deal is better than throwing money at a bum like Cral Pavano.  I think I would have rather seen them sign Berkman, who the division rival Cards added. Although Berkman was very fat and out of shape last year and is a defensive liability anywhere now.  Cubs like many teams could use a starter.

Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:37 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

Sorry dude, but Carlos was playing for a contract this past year.  Result:  .196 BA.

Since: Jan 17, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:35 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

1 Year deal did wonders for Adrian Beltre last season. Pena still has to play for a contract again. For the options Cubs had, Pena fills the void. This deal is no where near comparison to Soriano's multiyear deal. Pena should light up wrigley.

Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:22 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

Ahhhh the Cubbies get Carlos!  Let me tell you about him.  I'm a Ray's fan in Tampa, and have watched Carlos since 2007.  First the good: he's a great guy.  Good in the clubhouse and the community.  Has power when the stars are aligned.Now the bad:  .196 BA.  The WORST for any starter in the majors last year.  Opposing teams use a massive overshift to the right side, and he simply CAN'T hit to the opposite field.  It really hurt the Rays as he had SO MANY chances to drive in runs in close games and he would strike out or ground out to the overshift.  VERY frustrating for the fans.
And now he's yours.... good luck and have a nice day.

Since: Nov 25, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2010 8:09 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

You nailed it!  My thoughts exactly! 10 million for a .220-240 hitter who is going to strike out a ton??!!  BUt Ricketts needs 300 million from the taxpayers?  If I hear another player/owner cry poor again....  

Looks like I'll stay away from Wrigley another season!  Hendry MUST go!

Since: Jan 11, 2007
Posted on: December 8, 2010 7:50 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

I knew the Cubs would do it again.  What a terrible move and pay another underachiever 10 million dollars for batting what? 196.  What is baseball and this world coming to when you pay 10 million dollars worth of fans money for somebody that has done little. I see another Soriano in place and another down season for the Cubs.  This is ridiculous.  What in the world is Hendry thinking?  LaRoche would have been a more reliable and worthy pickup and paid less.  Pena is not worth 10 MILLION DOLLARS!!!  He is not even worth 1 million  dollars.  This is absolutely another worthless pickup. I am so tired of Hendry and tired of losing.  They had to keep Soriano because of this kind of stupid contract.  They had to keep Ramirez, who had been a pretty good pickup but he has been slumping terribly the last couple of years and has never played a full season with the Cubs.  Fukodome and his terrible bat.  Zambrano has been the only one that has been steady except for his poor attitude. And the guys they have gotten rid of that were paid FAR less and played with more heart and soul, ie DeRosa, Theriot, etc. It is getting harder and harder to watch. Even for diehard Cubs fans.

Since: Oct 18, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2010 7:45 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

You sound like you wish the Cubs would have stuck with Brant Brown, Brooks Keischnick, Doug Glanville, Corey Patterson, Felix Pie, Matt Stairs, Derrick May, Todd Hollandsworth, Tuffy Rhodes, and others.  The players that have helped them, they kept. 

Yes, they let some key players depart, but what team hasn't?  They screwed up with Maddux (entering his prime) and Grace (past his prime), but they kept Sandberg through his whole career and kept Lee for his prime and a little past.  Kerry Wood received nothing but love from the organization and the fans, and he thanked the franchise by signing an undervalued contract.  Then, when he was up for a contract again, there was nothing wrong with him looking for a long-term deal elsewhere.  He was priced out of the Cubs range, and he was aware of it.  Mark Prior had one good season and a bunch of injuries.  Cubs didn't owe him anything:  all they would have gotten from him was more doctor and rehab bills.  Sosa made his career with the Cubs.  Once his ego didn't fit in the clubhouse, they had no choice but to ship him out.  Considering he didn't have a decent season after he left, it looks like they made the right decision.

You mention the closer position:  you would have kept Mel Rojas, Antonio Alfonseca, LaTroy Hawkins, Dave Smith, or Kevin Gregg?!!!  Some of them had some success before and/or after their time in Chicago, but all SUCKED as Cubs.

The Cubs best bet is to NOT commit long term to players.  Unfortunately, they often choose the wrong player to commit to.  Look at Soriano:  He is not the player that they are paying him to be.  Zambrano:  same story, except more of a distraction.  Who else do the Cubs have to build around?  Soto has had one good season, one bad season, and one decent season.  Hardly a guy to bank on.  No starter brings the excitement that a #1 guy brings, no position player is considered anywhere near the best in the league at his position.  Why would they commit long term to players that aren't the cornerstone?

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: December 8, 2010 5:17 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

I agree with the amount of the contract. I do like the length though. Let him see if he can prove himself and get back on track.

Since: Feb 11, 2008
Posted on: December 8, 2010 2:16 am

Cubs get their 1B: Carlos Pena

Good move by the Cubs, although 10 million seems to be a lot for a 1st baseman that hit .196 last year, the Cubs throughout not such recent history, have brought in free agents only to let them go so a one year deal is a good gamble for them. Looking at the Cubs for the last three decades vis a vis free agents, seems they have never been committed to them, for that matter it's a never ending turnstile for them, last player I can think of that was a keeper was Ryan Sandberg.Think I'm being atrocious? Look at the closer position, heck all outfield positions, although happy with Derek Lee a number of years, what of Mark Grace, in short who is the face of the Chicago Cubs?Mark Prior, Kerry Wood? Soriano? Help me out here, personally hope Geovanny Soto can last long enough to be considered a true Cub.

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