Cubs To Sign Carlos Pena
Carrie Muskat and just about everyone on twitter is saying the deal is done for Carlos Pena for a grand sum of...
I'm sure we'll get more details on Wednesday, but looks like Cubs chose to pay a little more this year and a little less overall than the 2/$14M that Levine suggested earlier. If the numbers are true, it is $2M more than they offered Berkman and I'm wondering if Pena and Co. were willing to take deferred money that Berkman was not.
Pena was the Rangers 10th overall pick in the 1998 draft and was one of the top prospects in the game in the early part of the decade ranking #11 overall in 2001 and #5 overall in 2002 by Baseball America. He bounced around four different organizations (Rangers, A's, Tigers, Red Sox) before finally settling in Tampa in 2007 where he went nuts to the tune of a 1.037 OPS and 46 HR's. He settled down to an .871 OPS in 2008 and .893 in 2009 with over 30 HR's each season before last year's .732 OPS and just 28 HR's and .196 BA. His monthly splits last year show 2 disastrous sub .500 OPS months and 4 above .800, including a .920 OPS in May. Streaky I believe is the term they like to use. He lefty/righty splits are typical with .881 vs. righties and .750 vs lefties for career (.759 vs. .675 last year).
Pena has a reputation of being a good clubhouse guy and a good defender although UZR doesn't agree. A good time to mention that UZR is also getting more and more distractors every day and first base seems to always have been sketchy in their rankings.
As for the peripherals, he strikes out A LOT, over 30% in each of the last three seasons but walks a lot too, near or over 15% over the last four seasons. His BABIP was .222 last season and just .250 the year before (.279 on his career), so hard to say for sure if he's just the victim of bad luck or seriously degrading skills.
But with a change of scenery and leagues, maybe the Cubs can get a good year out of him and either help the team or be a trade chip come July. We'll see how the rest of the offseason shakes out, but I think the deal makes sense for the Cubs in 2011. There's no burden on the Cubs past 2011 and there's plenty of reasons to to believe Pena could bounce back (and plenty of reasons to believe he won't). The risk is low and the upside is high, which is about the most the team can afford this offseason.
Two 97+ win teams in a do-or-die, great bullpens, overpowering starters, plenty of pop--hard to believe that game wouldn't be tense. A 4-0 lead is not a blowout, especially in that situation and with the Cubs' young bullpen. Not only would a defensive play here or there make a difference, but you get the win there also on the home plate umps strike zone (generous strike calls for Arrieta, including a couple Ks), and on Schwarber sitting on the right pitch at the right time.
I just noticed the Dodger's payroll today. It is just absurd. $300,000,000+!!
Here is where just some of their money is for 2015:
Carl Crawford $20MM
Brandon McCarthy $17MM
Bronson Arroyo $3.5MM
Darwin B $2.2MM
Dan Haren $10MM
Matt Kemp $18MM
Brian Wilson $10MM
Ryan Webb $2.2MM
Dee Gordon $2.5MM
So I think tomorrow will be the most important test of how far we can go. We can win it all with two pitchers since Arietta has shown he can carry over his success to the post season. If Lester can be dominant also then I think we can go far no matter how Hendricks or Hammel do.
And in terms of pitching just went through to see how we could maximize Lester and Arietta and came up with this (Lester would be going on 4 days rest three times and Arietta twice):
i still can't believe that crawford contract (7/142). all that loot and years for a LF'r who's entire hitting game revolves around his legs and line-drive power. those triples that raised his value are deceptive as hell to his true power, but it helped him get paid.
there's also pause about a guy who's ob% is almost totally driven by hits rather than walks. BOS got lucky unloading that crap deal.
I think the Cubs take Berry and Soler off playoff roster and add Hammel & Ramirez. Believe Maddon will find Denorfia & Jackson defense too hard to lose.
O & B: I like the one-game Wild Card heart attack game, but I'd actually like to see a best two-out-of-three LDS played in the home parks of the two division winners with the best records, and then the LCS as a best two-out-of-three in the home park of the division winner left standing with the best record, and then let's get to the World Series already.
I...don't know. If chanting would help the Cubs beat the Cardinals in the next series or ultimately the World Series I think I'd be ok with it lol. I'm not supportive of saying insulting things to opposing fans or throwing things but loud noise and chanting seems appropriate to me.
I also grew up in France though and that kind of thing is par for the course at soccer and rugby matches and I love it. I find crowds too passive here.
Enjoyable read on David Ross.
Er, they won the first one. My bad. Carry on.
With last night's win in Pittsburgh, the Cubs have tied the Pirates with 98 wins, and are only 2-1/2 games behind the Cardinals. No reason why the Cubs can't finish the post-season with the best winning percentage in baseball (regular season & post-season combined).
BOB: I doubt very much that Matt Szczur will be on the Cubs LDS roster.
If he wasn't on the Wild Card roster (when the Cubs went with 15 position players), he won't be on the LDS roster (when the Cubs will go with 13 or 14 position players).
As it is, at least one of the three RH hitting outfielders who were on the Cubs WC roster (Denorfia, Jackson, and Soler) could get bumped off the LDS roster (probably Soler).
I want my baseball team to win by playing better baseball. I don't want umps, fields, or fans to have anything to do with it.
Just with the chanting thing it worked to rattle Cueto last year where he dropped a ball and gave up a HR next pitch so you can't really hate on the fans for trying it again in this important of a game.
I felt the same way, too, but...
I was very disappointed with Pittsburgh fans. At Wrigley a few weeks ago, they were very obnoxious guests, the cockiness on Twitter, and what's the deal with chanting Arrieta's name during the game? Very bush league. Add that up with Rodriguez's poor sportsmanship and you quickly have a team that you don't mind beating 4-0 in a do or die game.
Absolutely-It was tense. And when the Pirates couldn't push any runs across, you could see the frustration boil over.