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Carlos Pena Rumors
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.
Here’s the latest on the Cubs, including an update on their search for a successor to Jim Hendry…
- Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times says former Dodgers general manager Dan Evans fits all the criteria chairman Tom Ricketts has established for his new GM. Friends and associates of Evans tell Wittenmyer that the executive has always considered the Cubs' GM job his dream position.
- A’s owner Lew Wolff told John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle that he wouldn’t prevent GM Billy Beane from exploring job opportunities elsewhere, though he hopes to retain him for a long time. "I would never inhibit anybody from bettering themselves because of a contract," Wolff said, noting that no teams have called regarding the "indispensable" Beane.
- Wittenmyer says Matt Garza's presence at the front end of Chicago's rotation seems critical to any Cubs turnaround. The Cubs can retain Garza as an arbitration eligible player through 2013, though he won't be cheap.
- Meanwhile, Carlos Pena told Wittenmyer that he was "pleasantly surprised" that the Cubs pulled him off of waivers after the Yankees claimed him earlier in the week.
10:41pm: Pena has been told that the Cubs will pull him back off of waivers, according to Muskat (on Twitter).
5:59pm: The Cubs and Yankees haven't had contact about Pena as of this evening, according to Olney (on Twitter).
5:06pm: GM Brian Cashman told MLB.com's Bryan Hoch that a trade is "very unlikely" for the Yankees and that he's "not optimistic" about making a deal. MLB.com's Carrie Muskat reports (on Twitter) that Pena isn't going anywhere.
4:16pm: The Yankees claimed Pena, according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). That means every team in baseball other than New York and possibly Boston passed on Pena. It's clear that the Yankees want Pena, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney, but Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says the Cubs remain reluctant to make a deal (Twitter links).
1:09pm: Cubs slugger Carlos Pena was claimed on waivers by an unknown team, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). The Cubs made the decision to place Pena on trade waivers on Monday, triggering a 48 hour window in which teams could put in claims.
In 480 plate appearances this year for the Cubs, the 33-year-old is hitting .222/.342/.455 with 23 homers. Pena is owed about $1MM for the rest of the year and projects as a Type B free agent this winter. The Cubs will be on the hook for a deferred $5MM in January even if they deal him.
- The Cubs are likely to pull Pena back off of waivers, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). They did not get good offers for Pena in July.
- Cubs scouting director Tim Wilken told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com that he didn't know Jim Hendry had been fired until the day the Cubs announced their decision. Wilken and Hendry played baseball as teenagers and Hendry brought his friend to the Cubs years later.
- MLB executives explained to ESPN.com's Buster Olney that the Cubs' GM job is an opportunity with enormous potential. Olney suggests the Cubs could consider the likes of Brian Cashman, Billy Beane, Theo Epstein and Andrew Friedman for the opening, though it's not yet clear who they're targeting.
- Peter Gammons said on WEEI's Mut & Merloni show that he thinks Epstein would have interest in the Cubs' job. Interest doesn't mean it's time for Red Sox fans to get worried, though. Jerry Spar of WEEI.com has the details from Gammons.
- Alfonso Soriano told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes that he doesn't regret signing a free agent deal with the Cubs, even though the last three years have been disappointing for the team (link in Spanish).
Heath Bell, Jason Kubel, and Carlos Pena were placed on trade waivers today, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Rosenthal tweeted earlier about Jim Thome being placed, also. The placement on waivers starts a 48 hour period during which teams can put in claims. Hundreds of players are placed on waivers in August, but these four are notable because they do appear to be trade candidates.
Bell, the Padres' closer, sports a 2.60 ERA, 6.6 K/9, 3.3 BB/9, 0.35 HR/9, and 42.9% groundball rate in 52 innings this year. That's a big dropoff from his typical strikeout rate. The 33-year-old has $1.5MM left on his contract. He projects as a Type A free agent, but has said he'd accept arbitration if the Padres offer. Owner Jeff Moorad said this month that Bell accepting arbitration would be preferable in some ways, but if the Padres aren't actually interested in a potential eight-figure one-year deal for Bell, they've got two days to move him. Dan Mennella took a look at the fantasy impact of the move at CloserNews.
Kubel, 29, is hitting .295/.350/.456 in 326 plate appearances for the Twins, playing right field and DH. The left-handed hitter has about $1MM plus incentives left on his contract and currently profiles as a Type B free agent in the American League. He earns more than Thome, but not so much that we can rule out a team claiming him mostly for the draft pick.
Pena, 33, is hitting .222/.342/.455 with 23 home runs in 480 plate appearances this year for the Cubs. Though he projects as a Type B, teams might be reluctant to offer arbitration given his salary. He's owed about $1MM for the rest of the year, and the Cubs will be on the hook for a deferred $5MM in January even if they trade him.
Two players who will not be traded this month: Oakland's Rich Harden and Coco Crisp, who were claimed on waivers but pulled back according to this report yesterday from Rosenthal. Today, ESPN's Buster Olney tweets that the Indians won the claim on Harden, but could not work out a deal.
ESPN's Jayson Stark posted a new column yesterday; let's take a look.
- Stark speculates on four players the Cubs could attempt to trade Carlos Zambrano for: Carlos Lee, A.J. Burnett, Barry Zito, and Derek Lowe. I posted 11 Zambrano trade scenarios yesterday; check it out. A few baseball insiders Stark spoke to did think that with the right veteran team or manager Zambrano could be useful.
- Cubs players Kerry Wood and Reed Johnson were claimed on waivers and pulled back, reports Stark. Carlos Pena has yet to be placed on waivers, but the Cubs may not be motivated to move him.
- One baseball man who is close to Bud Selig told Stark the commissioner has "basically promised a lot of people he'll get them slotting by next year."
- The Red Sox are poking around for a right-handed bench bat, while the Yankees and Phillies seek veteran left-handed relievers.
Dan Uggla's incredible 33-game hitting streak came to an end today. The Braves' slugger batted an insane .377/.438/.762 over that stretch with 15 homers, good for an even 1.200 OPS. Remarkably though, he still falls 23 games short of Joe DiMaggio's immortal record. Here are your Sunday links:
- After fracturing a fibula today, new Diamondbacks acquisition Jason Marquis will miss four to six weeks. SI's Jon Heyman tweets that it sounds like the team's inclination is to replace Marquis internally. The Arizona Republic's Nick Piecoro doesn't think the team will go with top draft pick Trevor Bauer for the rotation spot, but notes that it's not crazy to suggest it. The 20-year-old Bauer tossed five scoreless innings today in his Double-A debut.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm, "We’re always open minded for Aaron [Hill] still being a long-term part of this team." Anthopoulos notes that Hill has flashed his talent at times this year. It's tough to picture the Jays picking up Hill's $8MM club option, but maybe they can work something out.
- Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post tweets that he would be surprised if the Rockies don't re-sign second baseman Mark Ellis. The 34-year-old had a .267/.304/.382 line in 139 plate appearances heading into tonight's action.
- If Bob Melvin is managing the Athletics again in 2012, he wants them to bring Hideki Matsui back, writes John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Matsui had just a .617 OPS in the season's first half, but has risen from the ashes to post a .410/.470/.630 slash line in 26 games since the All-Star Break.
- Similarly, the Cubs and Carlos Pena both seem to be open to working out a new deal, writes Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com. On a related note, ESPN's Buster Olney hears that "in some important corners of the Cubs' front office, there is concern about investing huge money in one player this winter." In other words, the Cubs' brass might be wary of signing Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder to play first base.
- Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review wonders if the Pirates can follow the path to prominence that their division rivals, the Brewers, followed to escape a similar tradition of losing.
- Olney tweets that in three days, Drew Pomeranz can officially become the player to be named later from last month's Ubaldo Jimenez trade with the Indians. Pomeranz is expected to report to the Rockies' Double-A affiliate in Tulsa.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
The non-waiver trade deadline came and went yesterday with nary a Carlos Pena rumor. At first glance you'd think an impending free agent with 20 home runs would be on the move, but Pena remained with the 43-65 Cubs. Why?
For one thing, Pena is moveable in August. Cubs GM Jim Hendry explained to Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times, "The guys that we kept, for the most part, are guys that still have a chance to be involved next year, and if we do make a trade or two in August, that’s still no more or less significant than if we made them [Sunday]." There's a decent chance Pena would clear waivers, especially since $5MM of his $10MM contract is due in January. If not, the Cubs could just hand over the contract.
Another reason Pena stayed is that Hendry doesn't have anyone to replace him. The GM explained that the Cubs had Tyler Colvin to step in for Kosuke Fukudome, but have no such replacement for Pena. Bryan LaHair has 29 home runs at Triple-A Iowa, but he's 28 and this is his sixth stint at the level. Personally this explanation doesn't do much for me, as the Cubs are going to remain terrible this year whether Pena or LaHair starts at first over the final two months.
I imagine Hendry was also limited by the scant number of contenders in need of first base or DH help. Pena is best marketed as a first baseman, and with the Pirates adding Derrek Lee it's tough to find a contender in need of help at the position.
Wittenmyer mentions draft pick compensation, but Pena is actually below Type B status at present. Plus, the Cubs have often been reluctant to offer arbitration to free agents.
One last possibility is that Pena was not traded because the Cubs want to re-sign him and that's generally easier when you retain a player. Pena, a Scott Boras client, said he'd love to stay in Chicago and is excited about the team's future, but hasn't really looked ahead to next year. The Cubs will have options, with a large amount of payroll flexibility and Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols potentially on the market.
The Cubs are informing other teams that they will not trade Carlos Pena before tomorrow's deadline, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). At least one team – the Pirates – inquired about his availability. The 33-year-old Pena is hitting .224/.338/.445 with 20 homers this year, and will become a free agent after the season.
It's been awfully quiet on the Pirates rumor front lately, but maybe that's just because the team's front office is keeping a lid on it. The latest:
- Talks between the Pirates and A's about Josh Willingham are finished, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). The talks never intensified.
- The Pirates and A's are talking, tweets Jon Paul Morosi, as Oakland can fill the Pirates' need for a bat and a reliever.
- The Pirates inquired on Carlos Pena but sensed the Cubs weren't motivated to trade him, tweets SI's Jon Heyman. The Bucs are not sure that Pena's predecessor, Derrek Lee of the Orioles, is an upgrade for them. I think he would be.
- The Pirates had interest in lefty Charlie Furbush before the Tigers sent him to Seattle today, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post.