Carlos Pena had one season in Chicago but he quickly became popular with the fans and his teammates. He also had a fairly productive season at the plate while saving Starlin Castro quite a few throwing errors.
There is no doubt he'll be missed. Pena signed a one year, $7.25M deal to go back to the Tampa Rays.
As Cubs fans, though, most of us have come to terms with the fact that this team is building a new foundation and that the need for older veterans is taking a back seat to younger cheaper, long-term players with upside. In a different world, Pena may have fit in as a stopgap solution to top 1B prospect Anthony Rizzo, but these Cubs could use the compensation pick more and they have an stopgap alternative in Bryan LaHair. The decision to let Pena go was a foregone conclusion from day one.
The Cubs are expected to get the #56 pick in the draft in exchange for Pena, one of 4 top picks within the top 68 that they'll have in the upcoming MLB June Draft. Without the ability to go over slot, having multiple top picks is a key to the Cubs ability to continue rebuilding their farm system. With money out of the equation, the key now is to out-scout other teams and get value out of those picks.
On a different note, the signing also takes one more bat out of the market as teams like the Tigers look for a DH type. The Rays were never going to trade for Soriano, so this helps the Cubs a little in that pursuit as welll.