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The Cubs sign Carlos Pena to a one-year deal

Dec 8, 2010, 8:00 AM EDT

Carlos Pena

Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that the Cubs have agreed to a deal with Carlos Pena. It’s believed to be for $10 million.

This makes sense for Pena, I think, who can use a year in the friendly confines to build up value and then return to the market next winter when there won’t be as many other first basemen around as there are this year. For the Cubs? Well, they need a first baseman because the other infielders need someone to throw the ball to.  If Pena rebounds, great, everyone is happy.  If not, hey, one year.

I think he’ll bounce back a bit, however, because (a) the NL Central is way, way easier than the AL East; and (b) his line of .196/.325/.407 was horrible, but he was really unlucky, hitting only .222 on balls in play. The average should tick up a bit, and his plate discipline is excellent, so there’s a good chance he’ll be a useful first baseman next year.

  1. Adam - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:14 AM

    He may have a chance to re-establish his value and have fewer FA 1B to compete against, but he’ll also have fewer teams with a need for his services, as multiple teams are locking up 1B this offseason to multi year deals.

    Simply supply and demand at work.

  2. proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:41 AM

    That is a lot of money for someone coming off a bad year.

  3. shawon0meter - Dec 8, 2010 at 8:52 AM

    I don’t hate it……not sure what else to say

  4. proudlycanadian - Dec 8, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    A few days ago, a rumor monger wrote that the Jays were all over Pena. That was a tad off. The Jays will kick tires, but are unlikely to sign an overpriced Boras client.

  5. dondbaseball - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Yes, he has power, yes he has a good glove, yes he walks a lot but he doesn’t make contact AT ALL. When you swing and miss that much, you will mishit many balls that become outs so I don’t buy that 222 Babip going up a bit. Plus he is getting older and seems to have “old-guy” skills that will not age well. He took the first decent offer out there (good for him) but as usual, Hendry screwed up.

    • Adam - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:19 AM

      “His first two seasons with the Rays, Pena hit .297 and .298 on balls in play, roughly the major league norm. This season, that figure has dipped to .229.”
      Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/sports/baseball/24kepner.html

      And he’s been swinging and missing for a long time. The bigger problem is that his GB/FB ratio skyrocketed last year, and he pulls the ground balls into the shift that’s employed against him.

  6. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:12 AM

    Or maybe he won’t bounce back because he doesn’t have a clue about hitting in general and the pitchers in the NL Central in particular.

  7. flpunx - Dec 8, 2010 at 10:45 AM

    Say what you want about his age, the fact that he only knows how to hit homeruns, or that he can’t beat out the shift to save his life, but he is a difference maker in a lot of games, and last time I checked, the Cubs need someone who can do that. Maybe now Byrd can not feel like he has to carry the team by himself. As a Rays fan, I hate to see him go, but I have a really bad feeling this is the tip of the iceberg. . . .

  8. andrewkw - Dec 8, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    I really don’t understand why the jays didn’t top this offer. Rogers Center is pretty good for hitting home runs too, and it’s only for one year. They could have used some of the savings from trading Marcum to up their offer.

  9. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Dec 8, 2010 at 2:56 PM

    Ten million for a 1B who last year hit below the mendoza line! The Cubs haven’t gone 0 for 102 on pure talent alone, it takes a big assist from the Cubs “brain” trust along the way.

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