Aug 24, 2011, 5:41 PM EST
Earlier today, before the Yankees were identified as the claiming team, Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com speculated that the Cubs trading Pena was unlikely because he’s owed $5 million in salary that’s deferred until January and they might want to re-sign him for 2012.
As usual Pena has been productive despite a low batting average and tons of strikeouts, posting a .342 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage thanks to 23 homers, 19 doubles, and 74 walks in 124 games. He’s also a good defender at first base, although with Mark Teixeira not going anywhere the Yankees would be acquiring Pena to serve as their primary designated hitter.
Andruw Jones, Jorge Posada, and Eric Chavez have been splitting DH duties recently and overall this season the Yankees have gotten a .755 OPS out of the position to rank eighth among AL teams. Pena has topped a .755 OPS in eight of his nine full seasons, with last year’s .732 mark being the lone exception.