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Carlos Pena just signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for one year and $7.25 million, according to multiple reports.

This is of note to the Cubs for three reasons:

(1) He’s now officially a former Cub. I’ll always remember him fondly. He was a great teammate, a good bat, a great glove, and always had a brilliant quote ready.

(2) The Cubs now officially get a sandwich pick between the first and second round in the 2012 draft for him. Sweet.

(3) Had he not rejected the Cubs’ offer of arbitration (which formed the basis for the compensation the Cubs are now enjoying), the absolute lowest contract he could have received is $8 million, and it’s far more likely that he would have received $10 to $11 million. Either he did the Cubs a very nice, pre-arranged favor, or Scott Boras terribly misread the market.

  • die hard

    do Cubs pick up any of this salary or do they owe him on last years?

    • JulioZuleta

      I believe they just paid the “second” $5 million at the beginning of January.

      • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

        I thought I read somewhere that it was technically paid on Dec 31, but will probably count against this year’s budget.

  • Rick Vaughn

    Scott Boras is embarrassing himself this off season.

    • TC

      and how!

    • Tommy

      Right on. I love to see Scott Boras fall on his face.

  • http://Thebigdealchicago.com Justin Koehneke

    Great news. Theo will build our farm system into the top 5 in two years!

  • Dan

    Not a good off-season for Boras. This year might bring him back to the field some in the best agent in baseball derby.

  • JulioZuleta

    As it stands, we have picks #6, #42, and #43 and another around 70, those will bump down one or two spots once the remaining free agents are signed. The Cubs will have 3 of the top 45 and 4 of the top 75, not bad.

  • truebluecubbie

    He did the Cubs a favor. I will miss his bat (at least the home runs part) and his ability to calm down the pitchers, but LaHair needs a real shot. At least the Cubs get a pick for him. And I really think that Boras thought he was worth more than he was. Of course $7.25 million for a player who hits .200+ with around 30 HRs. 80 RBIs is pretty good. He is like Rob Deer 2.

    • John Breslin

      I agree, he is more a good batting eye than a good bat. Plus, he is 34 years old. He had no future here; now, hopefully we can turn that draft pick into a real player.

  • Kansas Cubs Fan

    I hope Carlos has a great season.

  • Dan

    Could Boras holding off with Fielder actually cost Pena money? Might Pena be upset with Boras over this is what I mean?

  • Fishin Phil

    Good luck Carlos!

  • Rancelot

    I wish Carlos Pena the best. A true class act and one of my favorite one-year Cubs (along with Lenny Randle). He came as advertised as a well read, good glove and great teammate with pop and delivered.

  • aCubsFan

    Could Fielder actually be a free agent without a team to play for in the coming year? Wouldn’t that be amusing. It seems Boras’ and Fielder’s bargaining power keeps going south.

  • florida Al

    boras is an ass..

  • Bobo Justis

    Greatest benefit — Cub fans will not have to listen to another season of Keith Moreland calling him “Peen-ya.”

    • Elephanthole

      Hey Hobo Justis. You are so right about the Peen-ya comment. Moreland drove me nuts with that.

      • Bobo Justis

        I’m glad I’m not alone. How can you sit next to Hughes for 6 months and hear him pronounce it properly, and not realize you are doing it wrong? I live close enough to the park so I can walk or take the bus if I’m in the mood, but when the Cubs are bad I don’t watch them on television. The radio is less intrusive so I have that on, and I depend on them to be listenable. It would have been interesting to see if the new management would have corrected him. I doubt that mispronouncing the names of Hispanic players is good for recruiting in the Caribbean.

        • JulioZuleta

          I could listen to Pat Hughes do play by play for women’s soccer and enjoy it. Between Hughes and the TV crew, the Cubs have some great broadcasters.

          • Rick Vaughn

            I love Brenly and Casper. Remember when it was Chip Carey and Joe Carter? I love Brenly and Casper.

            • Adam H

              I remember Steve stone and Harey Carey.

            • NL_Cubs

              FYI…..It’s spelled Caray gentleman, Harry, Skip and Chip Caray.

              • Rick Vaughn

                That’s how much I hate him, I refuse to give him the respect of spelling his name right. But thanks for the correction, princess.

                • Cecil

                  I’m missing how that’s a hilarious bit or something – you hate Harry Caray?

                  • Tommy

                    Pretty sure it was Chip that he was talking about.

                    • Rick Vaughn

                      TOMMY!!! Thanks bro. But seriously, I hate Chip Caray.

                  • Rick Vaughn

                    If you had taken to time to investigate it three comments earlier, you would have noticed that I was referring to Chip Caray when I spelled the name wrong. Pay attention bro. Things are easier that way.

                    • Cecil

                      I’m not overly convinced it was worth the time. Thanks for clarifying though, Tommy.

            • EtotheR

              Kasper has become an elite game-caller…doesn’t overcall the action, and makes sure you know when it’s important. Never misses a thing. It took me a while to warm to Brenly, but he really is flat-out great.

              • NL_Cubs

                I liked Kasper initially for the first few years, but then within the last two years, something about him started to rub me wrong.  I could not put my finger on it for months but mid season 2011, I finally recognized what was grating on me.

                Kasper has been attempting to analyze and “manage” from the booth too much for my liking. Brenly has credentials to manage and critique from the skipper’s perspective, Kasper does not.  I want Len to do play by play, not play the manager.

                Don’t try to impress us Len on your baseball acumen which has been obviously improved since working with BB as his color analyst.

                Hughes and Wood – 2017!?

                 

                • Kansas Cubs Fan

                  I wouldn’t mind Demp in the booth. As long as he promises to cut way down on the Harry Carray impersonations.

          • Doug

            I don’t really care for Len and Bob in the booth. Don’t get me wrong. Len is better than Chip. Bob is no Steve Stone though. I think Pat should have the TV gig. He’s got one of the best voices in broadcasting. Right up there with Vin Scully.

            • JulioZuleta

              I think Steve just sounded great next to Chip. Listening to Stone along side Hawk is just pure torture. They both were terrible last year.

              • npnovak

                Yeah I love Steve Stone, but he has absolutely no chemistry with Hawk. Come to think of it, I don’t think any intelligent baseball broadcaster could have chemistry with Hawk.

                • Tommy

                  Couldn’t agree more! I loved Stoney. Now the poor guy is stuck with the King of Cliche’s and bad nicknames. PLEASE Hawk, quit calling the guy Stone Pony. That is some stupid shit!

                  I think Hawk is my least favorite announcer on earth (with the obvious exception being Joe Buck).

                  I would trade a top 10 prospect to get Stoney back in the Cub’s booth.

                  For the record – I like both Len and Bob. Also, blame Dusty for running Steve out of town (not to mention ruining our pitching staff).

              • Noah

                I don’t think anyone could be anything but terrible next to Hawk. Hawk is such an incredible homer, that it’s impossible to be a rational player next to him. And Stone’s greatest quality is as that rational voice. He does not have a great broadcaster’s presence. His voice is a little dull and monotonous with a slight nasal tone. But his analysis is excellent. Hawk is such a homer, though, that it doesn’t match.

            • Adam H

              Scully is boring to listen to

              • NL_Cubs

                Vin Scully, boring? Really? I’d suggest you read up on this HoF broadcaster, understand how unique he is, that he’s a one man show in the booth and tells a story about each team, player, coach, at bat, play and more.  And at 85, still kicking and on the job. More power to him!

                “And here’s Koske Fukdome at the plate, who grew up in Japan at the foot of a volcano and who’s father was a farmer….”.

                • EtotheR

                  Scully…boring?

                  I consider myself lucky to have ever had the chance to hear him call even one game.

                  He’s truly unbelievable.

                  • NL_Cubs

                    @EtotheR…spoken as a seasoned and knowledgeable fan of the game…touche!

                • Kansas Cubs Fan

                  I’ve enjoyed Vin Scully the few times I’ve heard him, but hes really not that exciting.

            • NL_Cubs

              When is Kasper’s contract up, 2016?  We can only hope that after that run, it will be Pat Hughes and Kerry Wood in the TV booth?

  • http://bleachernation ferris

    hell back to mil on a one yr 18m deal b4 he goes w/o a team…….look for him to b a ranger or national soon

  • pfk

    He was a solid professional and a likable guy for sure but I would disagree with you on the “good bat” part. He only hit .225, only .175 with runners in scoring position and .159 with runners in scoring position with 2 outs. That is about as bad as it can get, especially when you consider he was in the middle of the order and was counted on to produce in clutch situations. Basically, his home runs (which he did compile) and RBIs were inconsequential. And he failed miserably in the clutch. If we had other boppers doing their jobs he would be OK much lower in the order. But he’s not a middle of the order bat, which is what the Cubs needed.

    • AB

      “He only hit .225, only .175 with runners in scoring position and .159 with runners in scoring position with 2 outs”

      Yet he had 7 more RBI than Darwin Barney who batted more than 100 points better w/RISP with the same number of at-bats.

      • pfk

        I rest my case. If you stop and think about what you just wrote, it proves my point in spades.

        • DocWimsey

          Not really: it just shows how irrelevant the frequency stats are! In truth, Pena didn’t provide any fewer hits than you’d expect one guy in about 15 to provide on any given year given his BA.

          This is why “clutch frequencies” from Year X never predict the same frequencies in Year X+1.

          Oh, and none of their RBI were consequential because the Cubs pitching staff gave up way too many runs! You do not get to post-season on close slugfests. In fact, it’s really tough to get to postseason if you play too many close games.

      • King Jeff

        That’s a product of where they hit in the order, and the fact that Barney can’t hit for any power.

      • http://bleachernation ferris

        that would depend on where someone bats in the lineup and how many are on base throughout the yr when he’s ab
        ,barney did very well for little exsperience imo…..pena took walks an has power somethin the cubs will need to replace we have enough strikeouts….lol

  • Ivy Walls

    On a deeper level this takes away another bat that Detroit could have picked up to fill in their DH role. There are still others to consider including Houston’s 1B/LF’er who is also making $18M a year. But I doubt if Houston is willing to forgive much of the salary like the Cubs. As for Pena he was okay, some moments, a fair glove but the Cubs wasted a year of development to someone.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      johnny damon on a 1yr deal sounds pretty good too.

    • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

      Whose development was blocked by Pena? The Cubs had 0 legitimate 1b prospects prior to the 2011 draft.

  • EtotheR

    Boras may also have dealt a blow to Prince’s negotiations, as well. If you’re comparing options at 1B, and you see Pena at 7.25M…Prince’s top price might suffer in comparison.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      prince to the nats…2yr 50M

  • ty

    soriano will field a ball in left field and throw it overhand or maybe sling it sidearm or maybe flip it underhand- -rarely a professional committed throw. Even in high school if you threw a ball like this , you would have a coach all over you. I*m sure that Dernier and Pinella–not Quade-have adressed this. This is where his passive-aggressive personality comes in better known as I don*t give a ******.-

    • DocWimsey

      There is no such thing as a “professional committed throw.” Everyone has their own throwing style, and you change it if it does not work. Sori actually gets rid of the ball in a hurry, which is not surprising given that he was an infielder and that was one of his fielding strengths. He also gets a surprising amount on the throw for such a short motion.

      Now, I’m sure that there are high school coaches who would get over a player for this: but those buffoons should stick to football.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    does anyone else think that we could have used pena at 10M 1yr again… i love that guy, one of the few players that earned his paycheck in 2011

    • King Jeff

      Hoyer and Epstein both see something in LaHair, so I think in that regard, moving on from Pena is the right move. They will save the 10-12 million that Pena would have received in arbitration, they get to see what LaHair is worth, and they have Rizzo waiting in the wings. I like Pena’s defense, and the fact that he walked a lot, but he hit .225 and struck out 160 times, so it’s not like his production can’t be replaced.

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        very true. im just saying ill feel a whole lot better about seeing pena leave if Lahair hits 28 homers and drives in around 100 runs hell id love that deal at the price,and not an impossibility.

      • http://www.casualcubsfan.com hansman1982

        meh, Pena leaving this ballclub does not make much of a difference, as it stands now, to the club competing in 2012.
        If you know that contention is going to be a long-shot at best, you might as well get a good, long, hard look at LaHair and hope that he knocks the socks off the ball so you can trade him for something more long term at the deadline. If he fails, well, you probably weren’t going to contend anyway.

  • ty

    o.k. Doc. You have convinced me that there is not a proper way to hold runners or throw somebody out!

    • DocWimsey

      There is effective vs. ineffective, and orthodox vs. unorthodox. Sori certainly is unorthodox: he looks like a shortstop throwing from extremely deep in the hole out there! However, I’ve always been surprised by how well he gets the ball in ever since he moved to the OF: he’s not Clemente or Dewie, but he’s not Pierre, either.

      (Sori had a strong arm as a 2nd baseman, but that can be taken as a backhanded compliment in some quarters….)

      • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

        just an effective throwing style for an infielder… that just didnt translate to the outfield. seen it plenty times before with other players. mechanicly the hardest adjustment for an infielder converting to the outfield. lets not forget aside from the throwing thing sori was just plain bad in the outfield

        • DocWimsey

          Actually, his range is a little above average (or at least it was last year): Sori is clutzy when getting to the ball, but he did a better job than average of getting to them in the first place in 2011.

          As for his throwing style, I was surprised by how well Sori got the ball into the infield when I first saw him play LF for the Nats. It looks like he’s putting on “middle man” throw on a double play: and I expected the ball to just make it to the cutoff man. Instead, it was to the baseman on the fly.

          Alex Gordon is another one like this. He was a 3Bman, and he still throws like one, with a really quick release. However, he still gets something on the throw, and he got a lot of guys last year simply because it took the AL 3/4ths of the season to accept that this throwing style worked.

          It does make me wonder if maybe the “book” on how OFers should throw is wrong, or at least very incomplete.

          • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

            fundementals VS what is effective for an individual

            • DocWimsey

              Well, I’d say in any endeavor, whatever works best for the individual is the approach to take. (My “morning person” father used to extol “fundamentals” that were catastrophically counterproductive for a night owl such as myself: but my H is as good as his was at the same stages in our research careers despite my night owl habits!)

          • Tommy

            I would love to see the data you used to come up with the fact that Soriano had better than average range last year. I don’t use any fancy calculations – I just watch a lot of games. And from what I saw last year, a little above average is not how I would describe Soriano’s range at all.

            Good arm, I’ll give you that. Great guy – no doubt. Better than average range – no way.

            • Kyle

              How many games involving all the other left fielders in baseball were you watching?

              Because left fielders in MLB right now are a pretty terrible defensive bunch. It doesn’t take much to be above average out there.

              Soriano as of last year was still fairly decent at moving side to side on balls, and pretty good at coming in on them. His only problem with his range has been going back on balls.

              That said, his range before last year was pretty good, and it just last year dipped down to average. With his legs going out from under him, I could easily see him collapsing even further defensively this year.

              • Tommy

                Well I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree since it’s all a matter of opinion there, Kyle buddy.

        • Adam H

          How are you even questioning Soriano’s throws from the outfield? He’s towards the top every year in outfield assists. Debate is over

    • Tommy

      hahahahahah! ty served the Doc.

  • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

    ibanez…5M….vlad…7M….damon…9M….soriano…3M? the money looks good for sori but the other guys take a 1 yr deal. you take sori you pay the 9M you would get damon for and realisticly is sori gonna be your DH for three years if you expect to contend? or do you waive him and the rest of the money at the end of the season as other teams get stronger in the offseason. if you eat all his conratact and package him with garza teams just might be willing to go that extra mile on a garza prospect package knowing they’re getting a decent bat for free to go along with a young super 2 rotation guy. i think detroit just may bite on that extra seasoning on the trade bait.

  • edgar

    I meet him at my job in the planetarium last winter and he was with his family and was a really nice guy.

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      you can critic his game, and the contract issue, but ive only heard the greatest thing about the kind of guy he is.

      • Walter Mitty

        It’s “critique”.

        • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

          sorry about that

  • rbreeze

    I think we are stuck with Soriano.  He’ll be in LF on opening day!  Will a bigger glove help him catch better or how about attaching a bushel basket to his glove.  Cover the basket in baseball glove leather so we can tell the league that its a glove enhancement well within the rules.  is there a rule for glove size?

    • http://bleachernation.com loyal100more

      why not hes already got the fred flintstone bat

    • RoughRiider

      Yes.

  • Cliffy

    QT @Wild_fan_1: Cubs signed a big name today, Matt Tolbert! Oh wait he’s not a big .name at all. #cubs

    Is this a minor league deal? If so it could be insurance if the Cubs put an infielder on waivers and lose him so they can add Kerry Wood.

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      It has to be. I looked him up on baseball reference and no way he gets the job over DeWitt and Baker.

      • TWC

        Yeah, his stats are not… good.

  • Eric

    Pena is an Epstein kinda guy I’m sure. Works the count, gets on base, plays great defense, plays hard. But we got our guy, our 1B of the future in Rizzo. So unforunately there is just no room on the team for Pena. We will play Lahair for half the year, and if Rizzo is opsing over .1000 in AAA and playing great defense, he will come up and start his ERA with the Cubs.

  • die hard

    with Pena off the market wonder if A’s could be persuaded to forgo Manny Ramirez and take Soriano as DH?

  • art

    sorry Brett, Imo, Pena was a good glove, teammate, BAD hitter with power.

    very bad base runner. when he was thrown out at home plate for stupid running, he would say it was aggressiveness. it’s not aggressiveness when you’re one step past 3B and the LF who was in short LF had already rifled the ball home. he was out by a mile, 2 miles. he was thrown out a few times by a mile for stupid (aggressiveness) base running..

    • Kansas Cubs Fan

      His “stupid (aggressiveness)” was welcomed by me. It made me sick to see the team not try for the extra base.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Pena couldn’t hit for average. Everything else with the bat – which is a lot – he did quite well. His OPS+ last year was among the league leaders at first base, if I remember correctly.

      • dabynsky

        Pena was 10th out of the 24 1B who qualified in the majors in wOBA, and was 46 amongst all qualified batters in OPS+. The myth that Carlos Pena had a bad offensive year last year needs to be put to rest. He is a flawed offensive player, but he does provide solid value at a premium offensive position.

  • DocWimsey

    People diss Pena’s hitting “in the clutch,” but his (runs scored + rbi)/2 was very close to his estimated runs created. So, his contribution to the Cubs runs scored was pretty good.

    That being said, Pena probably is most valuable to a team like TB: someone who needs a reasonably cheap power supply in an effort to contend. (Kotchman’s numbers last year were a fluke, and he actually contributed very little: his runs scored and RBI both were in the 50’s!)

  • BetterNews

    Brett–Is anybody guessing at whom the Cubs will go after in the first round of draft for its #6 pick? Also, I haven’t been able to find info on the pick slot for Pena compensation in the supplemental(how does that work?).

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      I’m sure some folks are guessing. I’m going to hold off until May. As for the Prna slot, it goes by the team’s record from the previous year, and then cycles through again if you have multiple sandwich picks (I believe – I’ll be confirming).

  • Ryan

    Better News. what I have heard is it looks like the Cubs will have 3 picks in top 45 or so.

    #6 I’ve seen Byron Buxton,Lance McCullers and Mark Zunino mentioned.

    Right now I believe they have picks 42 and 45 but that could change a couple of spots after other signings

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