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.
"Terms of the deal were not disclosed."
Theo inks five year extension
PC tonite at PNC
Not as a major factor, but could be a tie-breaker. But, yeah, on performance and experience, it's Coghlan.
Arrieta’s 2.85 ERA would be good enough to lead 26 other teams. He's 3rd on #Cubs behind Hendricks (1.99) and Lester (2.28)
Meanwhile on the SouthSide
For sure! Russell and Baez are the first infielders in a while to make me think of star defensive players in football or basketball--it's almost like they force turnovers, and they definitely play the field with a degree of athletic aggression I'd expect from a linebacker.
[Edit: Was meant to be a response to JB above.]
tebow hit a HR in the 1st pitch he sees in instructs..lulz.
I don't think his issue(s) will have anything to do with it. He hasn't hit since he's been back. Coghlan has the hot hand.
I'm not a denier but definitely a skeptic on Strop and Grimm, who struggle with fastball control. Strop doesn't go near the ninth inning, and note how Grimm couldn't close the deal even with a 5-run lead. So Felix Pena comes in and gets the 3-pitch game-ending strikeout like it was nothing.
And how about Almora missing that very catchable ball? That was unexpected after all the hype about his glove.
When Trea Turner misses balls like that--which he does--I draw conclusions from it. It seems to be the one chink in his armor. But I'll give Almora another chance.
Assuming Soler is good to go, I think it comes down to 3 of the following 4: Coghlan, TLS, Sczcur, Almora. Of the 4, TLS seems to be the hardest to justify, particularly given his behavioral issues.
I'm wondering if both Coghlan and LaStella make it. With Javy being able to play all the infield spots and Joe maybe wanting late-inning D when Soler plays (assuming he plays), hence either Szczur or Almora, I think LaStella might be the odd guy out.
Hendricks needs the win, anyway, plus a couple more.
My hunch is that Hendricks wins the Cy Young . . . for Lester. That is, without Hendricks tipping the scale toward the Cubs, Scherzer tops Lester.
Old Cub fans remember when Ken Hubbs died at 22 in the crash of a small plane he was piloting in a storm in Utah in 1964. But Hubbs was not an elite power pitcher like Score and Fernandez. Score lived a long time after the accident but it was (effectively) career-ending.
HAGSAG: Since I've only seen them throw in one game and in one "live" BP session, all I can do is provide initial first impressions.
Brailyn Marquez is listed at 6'4 but is probably more like 6'5 or 6'6. I would describe him as a younger version of Bryan Hudson, throwing a ton of ground balls but not getting a lot of swings & misses (yet). Because of his size he could eventually grow into more velocity, but right now he's mostly a pitch-to-contact guy. He generally throws strikes.
Phil, do Marquez and Ocampo look like prospects?
It helps when your defense has declared war against the H in WHIP.