A League of Her Own

Thursday Headlines: Cubs Hoarding Carloses

May 14, 2010 - St. Petersburg, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - epa02157685 Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Carlos Pena reacts after striking out against the Seattle Mariners during the sixth inning of a Major League Baseball game in St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, 14 May 2010.
Imagine I had the skills to photoshop him into a Cubs uniform

Your Chicago Cubs introduced their starting first baseman of the future yesterday. And by future, I mean next year. The Cubs somehow managed to not completely piss off the entire fan base, and managed to get the reported one-year deal done. Carlos Pena, what have you to say?
"I think when I looked at all of my options, and the teams that were interested, I just thought this was the perfect fit for me," said Pena, who has 230 home runs lifetime, including 46 in 2007 with Tampa Bay. "And I also like the fact that this is a platform year for me, you know, to come in, be part of a great organization, have the opportunity to just go out there and play my game.

"And who knows? After a great season, then the future will look even brighter."

Scott Boras, can you get all super agenty on us?

"This contract, really, the premise of it was a lot like what we did last year with Adrian Beltre and the Red Sox," Boras said. "You have a quality organization, and they had a fit and a need, and you also had a player that had exhibited extraordinary abilities. I think everybody in the game knows that when a man can hit an average of 35-plus home runs over the past four seasons and has a lifetime average that is 40 points above what his prior seasons was, that the metrics will make the adjustment. And the average of both his power will be present and certainly with also the presence of (hitting coach) Rudy Jaramillo who worked with Carlos when he was a younger player really had all of the flavor of what we call a pillow contract.

"There's a lot of comforts. It's a one-year situation. It's a dynamic that you can't really expect the marketplace to address."


There are two more rumors still floating about, both to do with starting pitching. We'll start with the more interesting of the two. The Cubs are in talks with the Rays regarding Matt Garza.

 Officials from the Tampa Bay Rays and Chicago Cubs met for the second time during the Winter Meetings on Wednesday night to discuss the parameters of a trade that would send right-handed pitcher Matt Garza to Chicago for a number of the Cubs' top prospects, according to multiple sources.

Both the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers have also had meetings with Tampa about Garza, a major league source said. It appears, however, that the Cubs have the strongest bid at this point. A major league source told ESPNChicago.com that Milwaukee is talking to Carl Pavano about a three-year contract. Texas is still waiting to see what Cliff Lee is going to do.

But Bruce Miles says that Brandon Webb looks to be the more probably bet.

The Cubs appear to be one of a few teams seriously in the mix for former Cy Young winner Brandon Webb, who has not pitched since appearing in one game in 2009 before shoulder problems shelved him.

Webb, 31, went 22-7 with a 3.30 ERA for Arizona in 2008. The Cubs are taking extensive looks at all aspects of Webb's medical history. It's possible they could sign him to an incentive-laden one-year contract with the hope he could help at some point in 2010.

There does not appear to be a good match for Tampa Bay pitcher Matt Garza. Newly signed first baseman Carlos Pena talked up Garza on Wednesday.


Finally, Gordon Wittenmyer knows just how to get us crazy Cubs fans foaming at the mouth.

But how the Cubs have positioned themselves with the Pena signing has to make the rival Cardinals squirm at least a little.

If St. Louis can't get what figures to be a mega-extension done with Pujols -- and indications are that basic parameters for a deal aren't even close to being established, even as the sides talked more during the winter meetings -- the Cubs will be positioned uniquely among big-revenue teams to be aggressive. The Red Sox, of course, have the position secure now, along with other such big spenders as the Yankees (Mark Teixeira) and the Mets (Ike Davis).

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38 Comments

--MGb said:

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Despite being a pipe dream, Albert Pujols is fun to think about. I'dhave to stop calling him Poo-Holes tho...Fortunately Adam Dunn is still "the big dumb animla" so all is not lost...

Teebob2000 said:

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Now Crawford... I think I just became a Red Sox fan.

Doc said:

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You probably won't want to be a Red Sox fan in 4 years, though....assuming they can't trade off these guys as before their skills diminish greatly.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Don't forget: today is public visitation for Ron Santo, from 4pm-12 am at Holy Name Cathedral.

Doc said:

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I'm just going to wait until the funeral procession comes past me here up in Madison.

berselius said:

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"and the Mets (Ike Davis)."

LOL. If the Mets have money to spend for Albert Pujols, Ike Davis is not going to get in the way.

berselius said:

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Big thumbs down on the Crawford deal. This could turn into Soriano 2.0 for the Red Sox. It's even worse because at least Soriano had some power to fall back on when he lost his speed. Crawford's excellent defense will decline along with his speed, and he's only a career .337 OBP player.

plamorte said:

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he has a bit to go until his legs stop being speedy, if they win it all (again) within 3-4 years, it's worth it.

plamorte said:

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Red Sox can keep signing guys to help them win bc they spend $$ whereas Cubs make one big splash every few years and are then stuck with it.

flyball said:

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they balance out hte high priced players with young (cheep) talent, they weren't great this season, but by August there had been so many injuries even the most diehard fans didn't know half the players who had been brought up to fill in, and they still won 89 games, Cincy won the central with 91

berselius said:

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You could have said the same about Soriano in 2006. One leg injury and...poof!

Doc said:

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Honestly, I have faith in the Red Sox ability to trade Crawford before his skills diminish substantially...which is more than I can say about the Cubs who usually hold on to someone too long before pawning that player off to another team.

flyball said:

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I have faith that if he can't perform the Red Sox will try to find someone who can, even if that means paying him to sit on the bench

Proggy said:

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Sorry, but unless the Red Sox plan on getting taken to the cleaners in the future, they're stuck with Crawford for every one of those 7 years. Trading contracts of this magnitude is not easy. And, even as good as Epstein is, nobody is going to want a thirty-something OF with declining speed, middling power and pedestrian on base skills at 20MM a year.

Doc said:

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The Mariners would take him.

Teebob2000 said:

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Yeah, he'll slow down... By year 4 or 5 or 6, but they'll have unloaded him by then. They're going for a championship THIS year. Meantime he'll give them around .800 OPS, 40-50 SB/year, add that to Ellsbury's 50-70 (assuming he's not crippled for life); shit, they'll have 2 players with more SB than the entire Cubs team... plus their minor-league affiliates... plus any little league team even named "Cubs"...

Projected line-up:
Ellsbury (assuming he plays more than 12 games)
Pedroia (same)
Crawford
A-Gon
Youkillis
Ortiz

Damn! You're a pitcher; tell me you want to face those 1-6 spots.

flyball said:

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after seeing that all I can think is forget it, I'm giving in and going native

Doc said:

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Ellsbury alone would have more stolen bases than the entire Cubs team.

flyball said:

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should I point out that 3 spots before that the CUbs drafts Mark Pawelek, who tripped on his way to the bathroom in the middle of the night and injured him (non-throwing) arm

now, I'm not saying that at the time the Cubs should have drafted Ellsbury instead, I don't know what they were forcasted at, but hows that for a comment on the fortunes of the 2 teams

plamorte said:

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Yanks go 7 years for Lee...

Where are the msytery teams, if Doc is right, it'd be pretty sweet!

Doc said:

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Now that the Yankees have offered 7 years...I think that confirms my thoughts that Lee's agent just made it all up just so one of the teams would up their offer.

I can't imagine another team outside of the 4 main contenders would be willing to pay that much for someone except maybe the Red Sox.

JulieDiCaro said:

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I really wish I could go to Ron's visitation today, but my schedule just isn't working out. :(

JulieDiCaro said:

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Cards are looking for a backup catcher. . paging Toe Thumbs.

flyball said:

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you know, at this point I hope he goes to Seattle or someone just so I never have to hear that nickname ever again

gravedigger said:

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couldn't agree more

Doc said:

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I still like him...but not as much as I did last year.

flyball said:

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I like Hill, just not that nickname

JulieDiCaro said:

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Speaking of Hills, I saw Rich Hill's name on MLBTR today. That was fun.

Doc said:

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Oh...I didn't realize he was still alive.

gravedigger said:

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Do you automatically assume someone is dead when you stop hearing about them?

I do that, too.

Doc said:

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No...I just assume everyone is dead, period.

gravedigger said:

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What I do love, however, is the title of this post.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Me too.

flyball said:

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its like when everyone on the team was named Todd

gravedigger said:

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except, not repulsive.

Carl Heartscubs Gierhan said:

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If I'd been thinking better at 6 am, I would've gone all consonance. Cubs Collecting Carloses. Hat tip to adambuckled and dwag29 on twitter for the inspiration. dwag29 suggested calling up my Venezuelan cousin.

gravedigger said:

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for some reason, i just like the ring of "hoarding."

Edelweiss said:

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Seeing all those mourners at Holy Name and listening to what they were saying gave me pause to think. Santo has been with the Cubs since 1960, and they have been mostly losing years, but the team was loved by Chicago, and attendance was huge no matter what the record. For 49 0f those 50 years, they were a lovable team. This past season, that all changed, and the fans were acutely aware that the team had imploded. The number one Cub fan, who lived for the Cubs could hardly have not noticed. That might have been what turned out to be the final straw for Ron Santo. After the Cubs passed away, so did Ron.

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