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As expected, today, free agents Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena declined the Chicago Cubs offers of arbitration, which offers were made for the purposes of picking up compensatory draft picks when/if the two sign elsewhere.

Ramirez is an obvious case, as he is not returning to the Cubs. He has a number of suitors, and he’ll make some scratch this Winter. In doing so, the Cubs will get a compensatory draft pick between the first and second rounds in 2012. Good luck, Aramis.

As for Pena, the decline of arbitration, in and of itself, does not preclude Pena’s return to the Cubs in 2012. Recall, an arbitration offer is for a one-year deal, for which the salary is typically a hair over the previous year’s salary (unless the dude had an unusually good year, then the raise can be substantial). Against that backdrop, because Pena believes he can get a multi-year deal, it’s easy to understand why he declined the offer.

But would the Cubs re-sign him on a multi-year deal? Pena loved his time in Chicago, and has professed a desire to return.

All in all, I doubt he’ll be back. The way Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer have talked about Pena the last couple weeks – all positive, but very “moving-on”-like – coupled with his age (34 next year) and expense (he could get two years and $20 million or more), strongly suggest to me that he won’t be back.

If all other options go elsewhere, there are no trades to be had, and the market for Pena dries up, it’s possible the Cubs could bring him back on an inexpensive one-year deal. But, given that Pena just declined an offer like that via arbitration, he must be fairly confident it won’t come to that.

  • Mike Foster

    Brett, who’s his (Pena) agent? Agent’s always think it won’t come to an end…….

    • EQ76

      Mr Boras

  • Mark

    Allowing this kind of “moving” to take place is more proof of new days ahead and real leadership for Cubs. I am very excited we have a future with a new plan!

  • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

    Unless the Cubs sign a Type A free agent (like Fielder), I think they should have 4 of the first 50 picks. CBA or no CBA, that’s not too shabby.

    If they do sign a Type A guy, they’ll lose their second round pick. Three picks in the 45 would still be pretty darn good.

  • BFM

    Brett

    If we don’t end up with Fielder or Pujols or Pena…….who is our best in-house replacement for first?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      LaHair, Colvin, Baker, Vitters, and maybe Ridling or Clevenger are probably on the top of the list.

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        And what a mighty list it is…

  • Robbo

    If Pena happens to sign a new deal w Cubs do Cubs still receive comp draft pick? He was offered arb and declined. How would that scenario work?

    • http://cubbiescrib.com Luke

      If you resign your free agent, you don’t get the pick.

  • cdc

    brett…do you think the cubs WILL sign Prince?

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      35%.

      • Max

        I think signing Fielder will be bittersweet. We’ll all initially be like, “Yay! We finally have somebody who can hit!” But, then we’ll all realize that the Cubs won’t be competitors in the next three years. So, we’ll have a player, but not a team. And, the talent will be wasted. Signing Fielder might put more buts in the seats at Wrigley during a rebuilding period, but we’ll still be rebuilding nonetheless.

        • Kyle

          Holy mother of mercy. Now a team with a $130 million payroll can’t be competitive for *three years*????

          Being pessimistic about 2012 I can understand. It’s wrong, but I understand it. But being pessimistic about 2014? That’s a bit silly.

          • Max

            Fair enough. I guess I just don’t see enough coming up through the ranks to radically change things, and I don’t see much on the free agency horizon to help us either. That leaves trades as our only option, but we don’t have much to deal. So, I’m just not sure where the pieces are going to come from for a competitive team. Other teams seem much better positioned for the future, so even if we have a “good” team, it may not be enough to compete. Here’s hoping I’m wrong and have to eat these words when the Cubs are playing in October in 2013 and 2014.

  • Jim

    probably not

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