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.
Dolorous Jon Lester 4 hours 34 min ago (view)
I believe this is the correct take. It's surprising that Len is leaving. He's good, but he had gotten a little too rationalizey over the past few years for me.
However, it seemed he was heavily invested in the Cubs. His departure feels like there is some Ricketts-ish bullshit going on behind the scenes at Marquee that Len wants no part of. Anyway, I wish him well with the other Chicago team
crunch 5 hours 11 min ago (view)
is everything the ricketts touch just falling to shit in 2021? ....well, except their heavy investments in taking over the state of Nebraska politically with one of the sons and heavy investment in supportive state legislators...
Dolorous Jon Lester 6 hours 41 min ago (view)
This makes a whole lot of sense. Thanks Phil!
(And that HR off Hader was unforgettable)
Hagsag 9 hours 5 min ago (view)
Wrigley Rat 14 hours 33 min ago (view)
Len Kasper is leaving the Cubs for the White Sox radio booth.
Charlie 18 hours 50 min ago (view)
I would be happy to see the Cubs no longer spend DH time on Victor Caratini. Provided there's a Kyle Schwarber or better alternative, of course.
Arizona Phil 1 day 2 hours ago (view)
DJL: I don't think Ildemaro Vargas being out of minor league options is much of a concern to the Cubs because as things stand right now he projects as the team's primary utility infielder in 2021. He can play all four INF positions (1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, plus corner OF, too), and he is switch hitter with some pop, especially from the right side (remember the 9th inning HR he hit off Josh Hader in September?).
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 3 hours ago (view)
I'm a little surprised Ildemaro Vargas was tendered, given that he's out of options. He has value and isn't expensive as he is pre-arb this year, but still a bit surprised. Have to think he's got an inside track to an Opening Day spot at this point
waveland 1 day 12 hours ago (view)
really appreciate the years and years of your updates
Arizona Phil 1 day 14 hours ago (view)
BRADSBEARD: Strumpf was wearing a cast on his hand in Minor League Camp before everything got shut-down in March so his not being at South Bend might have had something to do with that. I don't know why Rivas wasn't at the ATS.
bradsbeard 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Do you have any idea why Rivas and Strumpf weren't at the alternate site in South Bend? I thought Rivas especially showed enough in ST games to be viewed as a legitimate depth option, especially with the DH.
Arizona Phil 1 day 15 hours ago (view)
Alfonso Rivas reminds me a bit of Rafael Palmeiro when Palmeiro first came up to the big leagues and was a "doubles machine" (before he started hitting home runs).
Rivas played D-1 baseball at the University of Arizona, so (just like Nico Hoerner, who also played in the PAC-12) I don't think he needs a lot of additional time at AAA before he's ready for MLB. He's a very advanced hitter, as long as you are OK with lots of doubles & lots of walks but not many HR.
Dolorous Jon Lester 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
I hadn't thought of that but I really like that option
bradsbeard 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
I really hope Rivas has a chance at the LF job. Would ease some of the sting of Schwarber being cut loose.
Arizona Phil 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
CRUNCH: I got the impression that Ross had seen enough of Schwarber in LF, so implementing the universal DH may be necessary before Schwarber returns to the Cubs in 2021. I think the Cubs would be fine with Schwarber as their main DH going forward.
BTW, I strongly suspect that the universal DH will be included in the next CBA, but whether there will be a DH in the National League in 2021 is still TBA (which is really stupid, since clubs need to know right now for sure one way or the other whether or not there will be a DH in the N. L. in 2021).
Arizona Phil 1 day 16 hours ago (view)
Besides the guys on the 40, Cubs 2021 NRI relievers with a legit chance to win a bullpen slot in Spring Training include LHRPs Josh Osich and Rex Brothers, and RHRPs Jake Jewell, Trevor Megill, Dakota Mekkes, Michael Rucker, and Joe Wieland (presuming they are not taken in the Rule 5 Draft).
Brothers and Wieland are out of minor league options, however, so if added to the 40 they could not ride the "Chicago - Des Moines Shuttle" like the others could.