One thing I love best about the Hot (Lukewarm) Stove season are the conflicting rumors. On the one hand, we hear that the Cubs are hot on Adam LaRoche, and want to sign him “soon.” On the other, we here things like this:

The Chicago Cubs will meet with the agents for free agent first baseman Carlos Pena a second time on Tuesday night, according to major league sources.

The Cubs met with Pena’s agent, Scott Boras, on Monday night. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry brought along former Boras client and future Hall of Famer Greg Maddux, who is an advisor to Hendry. Maddux sat across the table from Boras, who represented the former pitcher for 20 years.

According to the sources, the two sides talked parameters of a contract, and Pena’s camp is looking for a two- or three-year deal for the 33-year-old slugger. ESPN Chicago.

Now, the conflict doesn’t mean that both rumors aren’t true – the Cubs could very well be hot after both first baseman, pressuring each to be the first to sign.

As for Pena, his people are now spinning yarns about a plantar faciitis problem last year being the cause of his offensive struggles. I suppose that could be true, and if you take out last year, Pena’s been a dominant offensive force for the past half decade.

Ultimately, Pena is a fine option at the right price. LaRoche is a fine option at the right price. Chris Davis is a fine option, too. But none are going to put asses in the seats or a huge number of wins on the board. They are child’s swimmies; placeholders.

  • Jack Nugent

    True, all those guys are placeholders, but some are better than others. Other things equal, I don’t think there’s any doubt Cubs fans would rather have Carlos Pena than Adam LaRoche. And I don’t think anyone does (or should) want Chris Davis.

    If LaRoche is the guy, he probably won’t cost a ton, but he doesn’t present the upside that Pena does. It’s too bad they probably can’t afford him. Word is, the Nationals are still the favorites for Pena.

    • Ace

      I’d take Davis. He’s not the answer, but he’s got inexpensive upside that the others don’t. And right now, that seems like the best we can hope for in 2011.

  • buzzamus

    I think I would much rather have Chris Davis than Adam LaRoche. Davis is young and during an almost full season a few years ago had a decent average and hit 21 homers. Although agreed that Pena is the best choice of the three.

  • Jeff

    I agree with Ace. Davis is the only one of the three that should even be considered right now. With all the talk of saving payroll and developing our own guys, they should go after Davis and forget about overpaying for another middle of the road veteran on the down side of their career. It makes absolutely no sense to sink 70% or more of their fa purse into a guy who’s going to either hit below 200 or strike out close to 200 times.