As the search for a first baseman continues, the Cubs need to consider a first baseman who can play solid defense and hit for power. Is former Rays’ first baseman, Carlos Pena, the right fit for the Cubs?
The Cubs have struggled defensively and need a first baseman that can be relied upon to improve the defense. The Cubs are seeking a first baseman with defensive prowess, a left-handed bat for the middle of the order that can provide power. Let’s examine what free agent, Carlos Pena, brings to the table.
Last season, Carlos Pena had a down year at the plate. He batted a meager .196 but still managed to belt 28 homeruns and knock in 84 runs. On the surface, a low batting average might eliminate most players from consideration, but a change in hitting coaches might put Carlos Pena back in the saddle again. In a contract year, Pena can expect to make less money until he can prove that 2010 was a fluke.
Pena’s career numbers are better. In 10 Major league seasons, he has hit .241, which is not very impressive, but he averages 35 HR’s and 98 RBI’s per season. If he could improve on his batting average, then he would be far more attractive to sign. That is his biggest downside, other than he does strike out too much.
Defensively, Carlos Pena is a gem. He has a fielding % of .994.
He won a Gold Glove in 2008. The only question is, does his defense and power outweigh the holes in his swing?
Carlos Pena may accept a 1-year contract to improve his numbers and might agree to an incentive-based contract, which is appealing from the Cubs’ point of view. He is a Scott Boras client, for what it’s worth, but Boras will often agree to incentive-laden contracts to improve the stock of his clients. MLBTRADERUMORS has an article about Carlos Pena‘s free agency. You can read it at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/09/free-agent-stock-watch-carlos-pena.html. You can decide for yourself, if Carlos Pena would make a good fit for the Cubs.