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Holy smokes, did you know that the Chicago Cubs are interested in Carlos Pena to fill their first base opening?

In case you missed the buzz last week indicating that not only were the Cubs interested in Pena, but also that Pena was the team’s first choice at first (among free agents, that is), you can toss another log onto the invisible fire producing smoke.

The Chicago Cubs are showing interest in free-agent first baseman Carlos Peña, according to a major league source.

Peña, 32, is coming off a disappointing contract year with the Tampa Bay Rays, batting only .196 with 28 home runs and 84 RBI in 144 games. He also missed time because of an injured heel.

Hitter-friendly Wrigley Field would be a favorable landing spot for Peña, particularly if he plans to reestablish his value over a short-term deal. (The one-year strategy worked well for Adrian Beltre, a fellow Scott Boras client, at Fenway Park in 2010.)

That Peña bats left-handed is another selling point. The Cubs don’t have an experienced left-handed power hitter on their current roster.

Peña’s a former Gold Glove winner, and his defensive ability would be an asset for the Cubs. Fox Sports/Yardbarker.

Whether this source is the same as the source who indicated the Cubs’ interest two weeks ago is unclear. Nevertheless, it suggests that the Cubs are seriously considering a run at Pena, and importantly, suggests that they might try to land him on a one-year deal.

Defense at first base is overrated, as you should have seen when the Cubs installed Xavier Nady at first base over the final month and a half of the season (and he did fine), but if you’re a great defensive first baseman, it certainly doesn’t hurt. That said, paying extra for it – or selecting your first baseman based on it – is a mistake that we can all hope the Cubs avoid.

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