Cubs Notes: Pena, Ramirez, LaHair

The Cubs are 62-81, well on their way to earning a top draft pick in 2012. Here's the latest from Chicago…

  • Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena have made it clear that they want to remain with the Cubs next year, according to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. Until the Cubs hire a general manager to replace Jim Hendry, it's difficult to say whether Ramirez and Pena are likely to return.
  • Ramirez tells the Sun-Times that Chicago isn't Milwaukee and wouldn't have the patience for a long rebuilding process.
  • Reds manager Dusty Baker, who managed the Cubs under Hendry, told Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune that he hopes his old boss finds a new job in baseball. The Cubs fired Hendry last month.
  • The Cubs appear to be leaning toward bringing Pena back, but Bryan LaHair, this year's Pacific Coast League MVP, told Sullivan that he's hoping to make an impression on the Cubs this month and earn a chance in 2012.


43 Responses to Cubs Notes: Pena, Ramirez, LaHair Leave a Reply

  1. gunsnascar 4 years ago

    The cubs could do much worse than bringing back ramirez but pena im not so sure of it may be ok if the price is right. I would rather see pujols at 1st base next year.

    • Tyler 4 years ago

      As much as I would like Pujols to man 1st base. I highly doubt it will happen, he’ll probably head to the AL West. 

      • RonWashingtonISinsane 4 years ago

        Pujols to the West? To who? Texas has a capable 1B and will be looking closely into SP, LAA has Morales (who you can bet will have that job to start the year) and will be focusing on 3B, while Seattle and Oakland won’t even be close to reeling him in.

        • Tyler 4 years ago

          Its called the nifty little thing known as the DH position

          • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

            Pujols is quite the nifty 1B. No chance on him being signed as a DH.

    • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

      Pujols would not be worth the money and years it would cost to get him. It would royally screw an already royally screwed franchise.

    • imachainsaw 4 years ago

      i’d rather see fielder, he’ll demand less money and probably less years. so let’s say they both end up being busts halfway through their contracts due to age catching up, at least fielder won’t cripple our payroll as much. we don’t want another soriano, do we?

      • Lanidrac 4 years ago

        Less money, yes, but I don’t know about fewer years with him being 4 years younger than Pujols.

  2. Tyler 4 years ago

    I see Ramirez returning to the Cubs with a 3 yr deal.  LaHair is NOT the answer at first base, go out and acquire Fielder. If that is not the case, give Pena` another 1 yr incentive laced deal.

  3. Wooly2010 4 years ago

    Tired of the talk of bringing Pena back.  He’s not been worth the deal at all.  This is an organization with NO answer at first base and with tons of money to spend this off season. Bring in a big first baseman to a lucrative deal and do your best to bring back Aramis.

    • Tyler 4 years ago

      A Gold Glove Caliber 1st baseman who has 26 home runs on the season isnt good enough for another 1 yr deal?

      • Wooly2010 4 years ago

        No, because he doesn’t actually play gold glove defense and his homers are negated by his terrible BA, high strikeouts, and inability to play consistently.

        • Tyler 4 years ago

          hmm.. Last time I checked they just dont hand out GG’s for people who cant produce GG defense. haha

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            time for you to check again

          • Tyler 4 years ago

            So you’re telling me GG’s arent given out because of fielding percentage? hmm

          • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

            not sure if srs. the award is voted on by managers and coaches

          • Encarnacion's Parrot 4 years ago

            Derek Jeter loves that you’re arguing for his sake.

          • Wooly2010 4 years ago

            Derek Jeter begs to differ.

    • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

      Why bring in a big first baseman? Power from that position can come much cheaper. The Cubs biggest need is starting pitching. Maybe not this off season, but after 2012 there will be some nice starting pitchers available via free agency. Matt Cain, Cole Hamels, Jonathan Sanchez, Zachary Greinke, Shaun Marcum are all set to be free agents after next season. I’m not saying all of them will be available, but at least one or two will be. If the Cubs wrap up all kinds of money in Fielder or Pujols that restricts them from signing any of those pitchers. Signing Pena at a 3 year 20MM deal gives the Cubs the ability to be players for the crop of starting pitchers after 2012 and gives one of the three first baseman they signed from the 2011 draft time to develop and be ready. Band-aids can’t help a sinking ship.

      • Wooly2010 4 years ago

        It’s not about just getting power.  It’s about getting great overall value.  Carlos Pena doesn’t bring that.  If they bring in a big first baseman, they will have enough money left over to bring in a quality starting pitcher in 2012.

        And Carlos Pena should absolutely NOT get a deal over one year (if he comes back at all).  Declining bat speed, very overrated defense, and plate discipline that is also declining…not my cup of tea.

        • IMO, Woody, putting money into Fielder or Pujols would be wasted value.  It doesnt’ matter how well they produce, this team isn’t in contention for the next few years.  Pena is a great 1-2 year stopgap at a reasonable price. Even if you don’t consider him to be a GG fielder, there is no dispute that his D is at least above average and he’ll be able to help during Castro’s defensive development. 

          You don’t build a contender with by signing big-name free agents. You build with the farm and then fill the gaps with big name FAs. I’d much rather continue spending big money on player development.

          • Wooly2010 4 years ago

            Actually, there’s a consensus among members of the statistical community that he isn’t a good defender.  Also, the team has roughly 60 million dollars to reinvest this off season.  If they do that correctly, they most definitely can compete in a weak NL Central unless you think Dempster and Wells will repeat this year (unlikely).  

            And the Cubs should spend more money on PD.  I agree to that.  However, if you have the opportunity to invest in the RIGHT guys in the FA market, you do it.  The Cubs spent a decade doing it for the wrong guys.  Pujols and Fielder would be the right guys.

        • BlueCatuli 4 years ago

          Actually, he’s about even with his career averages outside of SLG% and OPS (due to the low lower SLG%), and he has a higher BB% than his career average. His AVG with RISP could use some help. I would still rather have Pena for three years and wait for a cheaper internal option than give a longterm contract to either a player who’s best years will be wasted on a team with bad pitching, or a player who will require a deal that will see production slowly decline and hinder the team financially. I understand the Cubs are capable of maintaining a high payroll, but why tie up all that money in a position where power can be had for much less?

          • jb226 4 years ago

            Honestly, I’d pay huge dollars for Pujols or Fielder — but only on shorter contracts, no more than five years.  If they want more than that (and I’m sure they both do) I’d be happy with Pena for a while.  That said, the Angels might have a bit of an excess at first base.  If we could swing something there, that might be a good idea.  I also hope the Cubs keep an eye on Ian Stewart, who might get non-tendered.  Would be an easy pickup there since Vitters is pretty “meh” at this point and (unless you believe LaHair has put it together) there isn’t much at first base in the system.  Ramirez might be back but isn’t a solution for more than a couple years in my opinion, so having something else in the pipeline wouldn’t hurt.

            The only thing I can say in defense of Pujols or Fielder on the kind of contracts they’re going to demand is that the Cubs’ main problem hasn’t been the money they spend, but that they’ve spent it on the wrong players.  I’ll give them a pass on Zambrano, because even with hindsight I can’t figure out what the hell happened to him, but Soriano for example was never a good hitter, always a bad defender — all he was was a power bat with (at the time) some speed.  That’s not who you throw $100+MM contracts at.  Pujols and Fielder, on the other hand, are near average defensively.  They both have BB% close to their SO%, and the resulting high OBPs.  They’re obviously big, consistent sluggers, but they’re sluggers with consistently strong batting averages to go with all the rest.  Pujols, at least, is a very good baserunner even if he isn’t very fast (I don’t really know about Fielder in that regard).  In other words, they’re the right kind of people to throw that sort of money at.  The elephants in the room obviously being Pujols’ age and Fielders’ weight.

            Ultimately though, I agree with everything you said.  The Cubs need to keep spending big on player development and drafting (and I think they will).  Their biggest need is definitely starting pitching, which unfortunately is really thin this offseason.  The biggest single thing the Cubs can do is acquire a legitimate ace, which we really haven’t had since back when Wood and Prior were dominating.

  4. xcal1br 4 years ago

    I would be more than happy to see LaHair at first next year.  He is cheap and talented.  Let’s see what he can do.  We aren’t winning anything next year no matter what moves we make.  Let’s let another franchise make a huge mistake on an expensive, long-term deal.  Then we load up on two or three of the starting pitchers BlueCatuli mentioned during the winter of 2012.  Pitching and defense win championships, not home runs.

    • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

      I agree. Save the Pena money, let LaHair play first, and roll that savings into some starting pitching. I think La Hair has a chance of putting up similar numbers to Pena’s anyway.

  5. It use to be that when an outfielder was losing his range defensivly, but still could hit the ball.  The teams would move him to first base.  Why haven’t the Cubs try moving Soriano to first base?

    • That would be disastrous.

      • I don’t understand why you say it would be disastrous.  He has never been outstanding in the outfield.  If given practice at first, you could hide some weaknesses.

    • Eric Foster 4 years ago

      I’ve thought the same thing before. However, the overabundance of throwing errors from Castro might stunt his development. 
      The majority of the Cubs future is in the outfield, with Jackson and Szczur.
      So, we really do need to remove him from the outfield-
      But I’d rather eat the money via trade than potentially screw with Castro’s head.

  6. kevb197731 4 years ago

    You never know what I player can do until given a chance. LaHair has played a little outfield. It has been speculated that Soriano most likely would not be with the team next year even if they had to outright release him. I think he has put enough numbers that isn’t going to happen, but if they did get someone foolish enough to take him off their hands why not play LaHair in left and give him an opportunity he deserves. As far as 1st base goes Pena would probably be my 2nd option. Prince Fielder option 1 and Pujols 3rd. Fielder because he is younger and doesn’t seem to have the injury problems Pujols has. Love Pujols but think Fielder is the better option. Plus with Fielder, the Cubs may have a very slim chance to bring over his very good friend CC Sabathia.

    • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

      If C.C. and Prince are going to be teammates again, I think it would be in the Bronx with Fielder D.H.ing.

      • kevb197731 4 years ago

        Like I said a very slim chance, but I think Fielder has said he doesn’t want to be a DH. Listening to all commentary the best 2 fits are the Angels and Cubs because of their payroll, but the Angels don’t like dealing with agent Scott Boras so Cubs really have the best chance and there is mutal interest, but the Cubs are taking a real hard look at just bringing Pena back which would be bad. It would be nice if the Cubs could get Sabbathia or even Darvish if he is posted from Japan. What would be great is if Cubs could get someone to take Soriano and Zambrano off there hands, Dempster decline his option and leave then sign Fielder, Sabbathia, and make a big run at Darvish. Cubs are going to have to let go of some of their minor league talent this offseason to get more pitching if they plan to contend unless they plan on suffering yet another year then plan on the crop of pitchers in next years offseason. Hendry made some very bad deals and backloaded most every contract. Maybe the new GM will know better. As far their 3rd base problem Aramis is their best option so pay him and suck it up. Vitters is not going to be a major league 3rd baseman, and if he is it won’t be as an everyday one.

        • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

          I agree with you about third base. Go ahead and pay Aramis for a few more years.  Maybe he will give a hometown discount. Vitters would have been here by now if he was going to make it. 
          I would also love to get rid of Soriano and Zambrano, but the only way to do that would be to take people like Adam Dunn, Rios, Barry Zito etc..

  7. brewersfan729 4 years ago

    “Tony Campana’s our favorite player, and he’s filled with potential.”

    Let’s start a movement to make Anthony Ford of Johnsburg the Cubs new GM. 

  8. Wrek305 4 years ago

    Pena will sign elsewhere The Cubs need to give Brian LeHair a chance. They have no reason at all to play any veterans.. the point of the Sept. Call Ups is to get rookies playing time not call them up and bench them like the Cubs do. Trade Byrd and start Brett Jackson in CF Colvin in Left and someone else from their system in RF.. regardless of Soriano making 18 mil a year he needs to earn his job like everyone else not have it guaranteed.. the perfect example is Wellington Castillo his .700 in ST this year .. but Soto and Hill hit .240 and .087 yet 2 worst of the 3 got the jobs.. and they need to get rid of Soto before it’s too late.. and Ramirez will be gone.. next year as well.. he’s been declining for the last 4-5 yrs especially on D.. they need to either Trade Castro or move him to 2nd. Barney has proven he’s the better defender of the 2.. and simply the fact Castro is just not good enough.. whether you want to believe that or not its the truth

    • Neil Tatro 4 years ago

      u lost all credibility when u said “trade castro”.. smfh!

    • kevb197731 4 years ago

      Castro is either leading the league or 2nd in hits at age 21. He made the allstar game and only has room for improvement. There is no way you would trade Castro. Putting the younger guys in the outfield the rest of the year to see what they have that is a good idea so they can look at the offseason.

    • bmoneyy20 4 years ago

      barney is not an everday mlb player, great bench guy. what kind of return you want for castro?

      • Wrek305 4 years ago

        Barney is 10x the defensive player that castro is and hasn’t proven to be an everyday guy as well you have no idea what your talking about

    • Eric Foster 4 years ago

      Wait-
      So, you’d rather have an over-performing Darwin Barney instead of a potential 5-tool star like Castro.

      Barney is a utility player. He’s not even the best utility player in the system. LeMahieu or Junior Lake will bump him to the bench in the next couple years. Barney does play above average defense, but will never have the range or arm Castro does.
      Trading Castro would be borderline retarded.
      Trading Barney would be selling high on a player playing over his head.

      • Wrek305 4 years ago

        Barney has better range then Castro and has proven that..which is why the two need to swap positions.. that would be the smart thing to do

      • Wrek305 4 years ago

        LeMahieu will be Ramirez replacement for next year. Ramirez has only a $2mil buyout which the cubs would be stupid not to take the chance on that because that would be the only money Ramirez gets in 2012.. he will be finally out of Chicago.. to say Castro is a better defender then Barney is like saying Milton Bradley, Jeremy Burnitz, and Ceasar Izturis are the greatest Cubs of all time and Ron Santo should NEVER be a HOFer.. when in realiy those three were the worst ever and if it waan’t for Mike Schmidt Santo would be in the HOF already

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