While we wait on a possible Chris Davis trade (which may or may not preclude another first base move), here are a couple first base bits from cubs.com beat reporter Carrie Muskat.
First, with respect to Carlos Pena:
Pena would be good defensively, but your statistics are slightly off. His career high in stolen bases is seven, set in 2004. He’s never hit .300, and last year batted .196. He does have power and has averaged 36 homers over the last four seasons, but he’s also averaged 157 strikeouts in that time span. If the Cubs can pick up the slack on offense elsewhere, Pena would be an option.
While we knew that Pena is viewed as a solid defensive first baseman, Muskat is suggesting that the Cubs view him as solely a defensive first baseman. If the team truly believes he doesn’t contribute much on offense, it’s hard to justify him at first base at any cost, however cheap. Sure, having a solid glove at first base helps the rest of the infield slightly, in general, it is the least important defensive position.
Further, it’s hard to see where the Cubs would be able to “pick up the slack on offense elsewhere.”
As for everyone’s favorite OMG possibility, Adrian Gonzalez:
At this point, anything is possible. Gonzalez, who will be a free agent after the 2011 season, is coming off shoulder surgery to repair his right labrum. He’s expected to be ready by Spring Training. The Padres do need pitching. Maybe Cubs GM Jim Hendry can find a match.
Usually, beat reporters shy away from rumor mongering, and the typical response you see to trade ideas is something in between skepticism and poo-pooing. Muskat’s response is a bit of a surprise in that regard, and I’d hazard a guess that she’s heard whispers of the Cubs’ pursuit of Gonzalez (as I have). But it’s either not quite enough to report, or she doesn’t want to risk her access by reporting it. Either way, it’s a good sign.
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