I’d been waiting for some time to hear Carlos Pena’s name come up attached to the Chicago Cubs in a credible rumor, and now it has. It turns out that Pena is the Cubs’ second choice at first base behind Adrian Gonzalez. Presumably that’s because of Pena’s expected low cost and decent glove. Pena regressed badly last year at age 32, hitting just .196/.325/.407 – literally the worst numbers of his career. A slight bounce can be expected, but if the Cubs pay more than bargain price, they’ve overpaid – and, they should really have a back-up plan in place if Pena gets the job.

Some other tidbits from Bruce Levine’s chat:

  • If the Cubs do trade for Gonzalez, they’ll want to have a long-term deal in place before pulling the trigger. Among those who won’t be included in a deal for Gonzalez: Starlin Castro, Carlos Marmol, Brett Jackson. Among those who might be included: Chris Archer, Hak-Ju Lee, Jay Jackson.
  • The Cubs are looking at mid-range starting pitchers (sigh) like Jon Garland and Jake Westbrook.
  • Andrew Cashner and Sean Marshall are likely to remain in the pen next year, and the Cubs are seriously considering Kerry Wood.
  • Next to Gonzalez and Pena, Levine thinks the most likely first baseman for the Cubs next year is Tyler Colvin.
  • The Cubs are talking to teams about Kosuke Fukudome but are hesitant to pull the trigger until they know they have another left-handed bat lined up. Levine says the Cubs would have dealt him already if they had another left-handed bat (um, what? trading Fukudome is about dumping his salary, not dumping him the player – if you’ve got a deal, pull the freaking trigger already).
  • “Economics” will dictate the quality of the Cubs’ bench.


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