For reasons unknown at the time (and, I suppose, still unknown) Chicago Cubs’ first baseman Carlos Pena had not been put on waivers as of last week. Short of being placed on waivers, the Cubs could not trade Pena, who is a free agent at the end of the year.

According to Ken Rosenthal, that just changed, as Pena has now been placed on waivers.

Recall, the fact that Pena has been placed on waivers doesn’t, alone, mean much of anything. If Pena goes unclaimed – likely, given the $5 million payment he’s owed in January – the Cubs will be free to trade him for the rest of the season. If no good offer comes, the Cubs can hang onto Pena as a hedge against not landing one of the top two free agent first basemen in the offseason (Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder). They could also offer him arbitration, and collect a compensatory pick should he bolt. In sum, placing him on waivers does not necessarily mean the Cubs are eager to trade him.

But the timing is certainly interesting.

What changed between last week and this week? Well, there’s the obvious: Jim Hendry was officially removed as GM. But Hendry admitted that the reason he hadn’t traded guys like Pena was because he and Ricketts felt the next GM might want to keep those kind of players. Is that not still true? Does interim GM Randy Bush have a different view of how to best prepare the team for the next GM? Are the Cubs simply doing what teams always do with 90% of their players in August?

I can’t answer any of these questions with certainty. All I can say for sure is that Ken Rosenthal says Carlos Pena is finally on waivers, and Jim Hendry is no longer the Cubs’ GM. Any dots you’d like to connect from those two facts are your own.

  • Matt Murton

    If he gets traded, I’m calling to the Diamondbacks. They’re freaking out right now after that loss to the Braves last night in which their offense didn’t show up. Given their ridiculous farm system, I’d say Randy Bush might be on to something here

    • Brett

      Yeah, but they just added Overbay, and Goldschmidt is hitting well. Not sure they’d panic to add yet another first baseman. My guess – if there is one – is the Indians.

      • Matt Murton

        Good call- I forgot that they just picked up Overbay! And after his 3-4 debut (with all 3 rbi that the team had), I doubt they’ll need Pena now. Plus Goldschmidt rakes, but you know how GMs are about young players and playoff runs… I’d say Indians are a great call now that Hafner is down.

      • hardtop

        eh. are the indians even a viable contenders at this point? i know they are only 4.5 games back but they just lost 3 in a row and all their non-waiver deadline trades have been a bust… kosuke’s no super star for them and ubaldo just hit another career low. im saying they are on the decline and will not be shopping for a bat at this point…. so i’d plan on ‘los in the lineup til september when hopefully they’ll sit him for minor league player dejour.

        • Brett

          I don’t think any team is going to offer the Cubs enough to make it worth their while.

          • Toosh

            And that would be what?

            • TWC

              Well, they do need a new pail of sunflower seeds. Starlin Castro chewed up all that they had.

              • Caleb


            • Brett

              The Cubs would probably need to get a second round type prospect (at a minimum) to think about making a deal. Pena is going to be a Type B free agent, so if the Cubs off arbitration and he declines, they get a supplemental round pick.

  • Toosh

    Who makes the trade? Bush, Ricketts, Kenney or Hendry?

    • Brett

      Bush, with Ricketts’ blessing.

  • CubFan Paul

    This means: they have offseason plans for Fielder & pujols &want somehing now for pena..

    • Brett

      Easy now. Almost everyone is put on waivers “just in case.” You can’t read too much into it.

    • Chuck of Delraybia

      OK. Lemme try to sell “crazy” on this for a sec. Pujols has certainly been a machine with a career avg of .328 and an insane BB/K ratio of 1.39. He’s also a 10 year vet who may be experiencing “peak Pujols” *struggling* to hit .300 this year. What would the Cubs have to pay for him? Fielder doesn’t have the same numbers (esp where command of the plate is concerned.) To be sure, he can still swing a stick with the best of them. Certain he’d be looking for the same kind of career insurance.

      I mean, if we thought we were going to do something next year and could get Pujols for a reasonable price, fine. But haven’t we learned our lesson about breaking the bank to buy a big bat?

      • Brett

        To be sure, the issue isn’t breaking the bank to buy a big bat; the issue is breaking the bank to buy the right bat. That’s where the Cubs have, historically, failed.

  • EQ

    I’m sure it’s a Ricketts/Bush joint has to be.

  • Fishin Phil

    I’m betting it was more like this:
    Randy Bush is sitting in Jim’s old office looking at the recent paperwork. Picks up the phone and calls Ricketts. “Hey Tom, looks like Jim forgot to put Pena on waivers with the rest of the gang. Can I do it? Can I? Huh?”

    Tom Ricketts: “Yes, Randy, go ahead.”

    • Toosh

      Teams have 48 hours to put in a claim.

    • Brett

      Haha, oh man. I just spit my drink.

  • philoe beddoe

    Crane Kenney just cleared as well…

    • Brett

      And then he ordered himself released, and re-signed for 8 years / $136 million.

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