There were whispers earlier that the Chicago Cubs might decide to hang onto Carlos Pena through the trade deadline, and now Buster Olney says he’s heard just that.

Olney reports that the Cubs are “informing other teams that they will not trade Carlos Pena before the deadline.”

Pena, you’ll recall, is a free agent after this season. He is a borderline Type B free agent, so, if the Cubs retain him, and fail to re-sign him, he might leave the Cubs with nothing.

Presumably, the Cubs are reluctant to move him because they have no in-house replacement at first base, and if, they strike out on Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder in the offseason (or worse, don’t pursue them at all), they could be in serious trouble at first base in 2012. But isn’t that true of almost every position on the team anyway?

I can’t help but believe that my theory about Jim Hendry’s lame duck status is indeed what’s holding up Cubs moves. If the organization knows Hendry won’t be back, they may be reluctant to allow him to trade anyone whom the next GM might want to bring back in 2012.

That said, if I’m right, get a clue, Cubs.

  • Zach

    Why the hell would you not trade Carlos Pena (getting something in return for him is better than not trading him and getting nothing), he will be a free agent after the season, so if the Cubs wanted to sign him again they could. Jim Hendry has to be the worst and most stupid GM in all of baseball. He still thinks that the Cubs only need a few tweaks and they could be contenders next year. If they dont do anything and keep the same players for next year, why would the Cubs be any better than they are this year.

  • Tyler

    This is why Hendry is the worst GM in baseball. What GM in there right mind wouldnt trade a valuable hitter, even if the Cubs dont get a lot it is better than getting nothing, i understand that they could get a pick for him but you have to wonder why the Cubs are not trading Bryd, Grabow, Reed, and Baker with Pene.

  • Madprizamwoo

    Brett, I love your site but for the life of me why do you want the Cubs to sign Fielder or Pujols? Fielder simply sucks defensively and Pujols may be productive for 4-5 more year and we will have to pay for 8. How do you think this helps our team? I just don’t get it.

    • Brett

      It depends on the contract. Do I want Pujols at 8 years and $250 million? No.

      Do I want Pujols at 5 years and $125 million? Hell yeah.

      Same considerations for Fielder.

      • Madprizamwoo

        Im with you but realistically we know these guys aren’t going to take under market value to go to a 100 loss team. So were on the same page with dollars we just need to spend that money on pitching or Reyes.

        Good luck tonight Brett!

        • MichiganGoat

          Reyes is as bad a risk as Fielder

          • Madprizamwoo

            This I go to hear. Go ahead Michigan please compare the salaries, offensive, defensive and base running of both Fielder and Reyes. As in my opinion Reyes will be had for 14-15 a year for 5 years and Fielder 22-25 for 8. Fielder is a very poor defender Reyers is slightly abov average. Offensively Fielder is better but Reyes does end up top 10 the league in triples and runs most seasons and base running Reyes is fantastic and Fielder is a fat slob. I’m thinking I’ll take Reyes all day if offered the two players not to mention for 7+ million less expensive each year. Fielder is very likely to be injury prone as he ages due to him being you know a fat slob. Reyes had some bad luck injuries over last couple of years but is more likely to not be injuries as the fat slob from Milwaukee.

            To me no brained and this allows Castro to move to 2b where he is better suited.

            • MichiganGoat

              1-he will want more than that or at least longer, 2-his game relies on speed and that is the first to go, 3-his injuries are concern especially with speec players, 4-he has really turned it on in his contract year (always be suspicious of this), 5-he reminds me of Soriano, a speed guy who drops when his speed diminishes (but at least is defense will stay solid), 6-it’s really a hunch I have I just see him dropping quickly. I am also not completely sold that Fielder is all fat, his arms are pure muscle and yes there is the risk of injury because of his weight but power doesn’t go as fast as speed. I’m sure you have sound reasons for Reyes and you may be right but Reyes just worries me more than Fielder right now.

            • Jeff

              I would rather have Fielder too. Reyes has way too many red flags. He produced like this for a couple of seasons before and fell off. He is way too fragile to give Carl Crawford money too, and someone is going to do it. I hope it’s not some guys named Hendry and Ricketts.

              • MichiganGoat

                Crawford is a perfect comparison (although Crawford had more upside going into FA than Reyes does)… Look how quickly he is showing regression. As the lame one D. Baker once said “Speed never slumps” but should have added “BUT it DOES goes away quickly and never comes back and often times injured.”

        • Brett

          We were on the same page until you said Reyes. :)

          And thanks.

      • Jeff

        I really don’t see the pitching available to spend the money on either. CJ Wilson is clearly the best upcoming free agent, but Texas isn’t going to let another ace walk away. We’re talking about Edwin Jackson as the cream of the crop this offseason, that’s not going to do much for the whole win-loss thing.

    • KB

      I’m torn on the issue myself, but frankly, I think we can all stop worrying about it. Ricketts ain’t gonna cough up $200 mil for either guy, so end of story.

      And you know what? Perhaps he’s right. Buying one of those guys would be like putting a band-aid on a gaping ax wound. We’re simply NOT one good player away from being a contender.

      FWIW, I disagree with you about Fielder’s value; I think he’s damn good, and because of his really young age, he has plenty of years of MVP-calibre performance in him before he’ll drop off. Still, whatever he signs for will be $50 mil too much, so as long as Ricketts spends the cash elsewhere, I’m fine with not signing him.

  • terry

    Maybe its not Jim maybe just maybe its the rickets family. They must not care if this team wins. I thought they wanted to build up the farm system. Apparently those more and more empty seats at wigley doesn’t faze them the reason it would have been nice to have had that Dallas mav’s owner. We would prob be making these moves not being made now

  • HotRuta

    This is a clear sign that Rickets does not expect the team to compete for 2 more years, and is not willing to throw $25-30M/year out the window for the next two years as a premium to get a Puhols or Fielder to sign with a going-nowhere team. Practically speaking, for anybody brought on board we need to be thinking about how well they will be playing in 2014, not 2012 or 2013.

    As a separate issue …
    I got the urge to go back through what records I could find on the weights of various players, and how much they have increased in the time they were playing for the Cubs. We all know Soto has a problem, and Zambrano’s profile resembles a tank, but a surprising number of guys have packed it on while celebrating their Cub-ness. A-Ram has put on about 15-20 pounds, Dempster about 10, Soriano about 25. While he was here, D-Lee put on 40 pounds (!!!) Anybody think that that kind of weight gain wouldn’t affect your playing ability — especially when you’re in your 30s? Marmol looks to have added 20 pounds — anbody think that doesn’t affect a pitcher’s balance — and control?

    If I’m Rickets, I’m hiring the most ruthless conditioning coach money can buy — and I’d see what some if these guys could do if only they were in shape …

    … and I’d be watching rookies try to beat them out for their starting jobs during Spring Training.

    • ron

      They (the players) have all gone up and down the past couple years. Do you remember when Wood and Demp did the whole meal plan thing and Soto dropped almost 40lbs before his rookie year (I think). Anyway, I also read somewhere that this is a side effect of all the day games. You are semi tired but have time to eat and it is harder to stay is shape.

      • HotRuta

        True, but I think that the guys with falling performance have only been going up, never down. When Sori was at 160, he was an exciting ballplayer; at 185-190 he hardly can run the bases. And 40 pounds on DLee — that one stunned me. Santa needs to put a Bow-Flex machine into the stockings of every player on the 40-man roster.

        And if they’ve got too much free time, I can think of at least a couple of players who could be working on their fielding …

        But it looks like Pena and ARam are likely to be here next year — ARam with a re-structured contract, perhaps. Too bad … I was looking forward to Sori starting at 3B next year …