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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.

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