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Cubs All Gab On Fielder Talks

By bullpenbrian at 12.12.2011 2 comments.

Change didn’t go down the way I thought it would for Chicago at the Winter Meetings. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen eventually.

It could begin as early as this week with Pujols no longer a distraction and Epstein and Hoyer having spent three solid days in Dallas spinning their wheels on potential deals.

The lone trade by Chicago last week, Tyler Colvin for infielder Ian Stewart, appears to have put to rest the Cubs’ opening at third base. Now the focus remains on solidifying the opening at first base beginning with Prince Fielder.

While the Cubs believe they can sign Fielder with a ‘creative’ contract, I suspect his asking price will remain too high for serious consideration.

Not to mention, with plenty of suitors available, it only takes one team to go all ‘Angels’ on us and offer Fielder his desired seven-years, mega-dollars and the moon.

If that’s the case, however, the Cubs are still in a strong position to land another quality first baseman starting in-house with Carlos Pena–who I’m on the record as saying I’d love to see back with Chicago next season.

Pena, of course, is not the ideal fit for the new regime, but he does has plenty of qualities that make him a good fit in the short-term.

Another much speculative scenario is one involving the Marlins signing Fielder, thus making their 28-year-old first baseman, Gaby Sanchez, available.

Although Sanchez isn’t an ideal fit as a right-hander hitter, he has shown plenty of promise in his two full season in Miami, including being the lone representative for the Fish at this year’s All Star game.

So on one hand you have the aging Carlos Pena with a year under his belt in Chicago, a power bat and his gold glove, and on the other hand, an up-and-coming player in Sanchez who’s entering his prime years with a much more affordable contract of less than $1M dollars.

All things considered, those are two pretty good option aside from Fielder.

Perhaps this week we’ll see which direction the Cubs choose to go in.

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2 Comments

  1. Andy says:

    I don’t understand why Carlos Pena would be a good fit to bring back. Pena did not have a great year this year. He struck out 161 times. His on-base was decent only because of his 101 walks. The stat that I find most troubling is the .175 average w/risp. With the new regime I would think they would want guys who could hit with risp. He also has a dWAR of -0.5 so his defense is not as good as a lot of people might think. At age 33 he is already declining. He would be a last option if I were running the team especially if he wants $12-13 million/year. I would rather take a chance on trying out LeHair.

    • bullpenbrian says:

      Thanks for checking in, Andy. Love the thoughts.

      The point I’m making about Pena is you have to look beyond the numbers. Yes, statistical data has its special place in baseball, but I also believe you can make numbers say what you want them to.

      I look at the World Champion Cardinals this year and see a team that was good, but not great, on paper. No doubt St. Louis had enough talent to win, but more importantly, they also had strong leadership and high character guys.

      Looking back it’s no wonder they accomplished one of the greatest late-season comebacks in MLB history, not to mention, a thrilling team-comeback win in Game 6 of the WS. For me, that had more to do with 25-guys pulling in the same direction than dWAR, RISP or their remarkable turn of events with the bullpen and closer’s role.

      Ultimately, I believe, you win with good people–guys like Pena who act as professionals, know their role and buy into a ‘team’ concept. Often, the importance of such players are undervalued. But glance at the World Series winners of seasons pasts and you’ll see St. Louis is just a copy of the special chemistry shared by all championship clubs.

      Is Pena worth his high asking price based on numbers alone? Not at all.

      But if it were strictly a numbers game Aramis Ramirez wouldn’t be a Brewer…and Milton Bradley would still be a Chicago Cub. Yet we know neither player is in the best interest of the Cubs pursuit of a championship.

      We’ve only got a glimpse into the direction Team Theo will go. But all indications show he’s striving to build more than just a good ‘paper club.’

      Pena may not be ideal statistically, but in combination with his leadership and high character, especially on a very young team like the Cubs, he’s good enough for me.

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