Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Carlos Peña for $10 million? Um..can we just get Derrek Lee back instead?

The rumors going about this morning are that the Cubs have agreed to a deal for Carlos Peña.

(The Sun Times and Tribune are both reporting this right now.)

One year, $10 million.
You’re telling me that Jim Hendry couldn’t find a better option for $10 million?

If that’s the case, Tom Ricketts should go down to Orlando right now and in front of everyone give Hendry his pink slip and then kick his ass out the door.

I’m going to make a prediction here: by mid season, the Cubs are going to be looking to dump him.

I could be wrong, but I don’t see this working out for the Cubs at all.

So what do we know about Peña (besides the fact that he is a hugger)?

People argue that he is a good defensive first baseman…and he does indeed have a gold glove…but statistics indicate that 2008 (the season he won that Gold Glove) was a blip on the radar. In fact, over his career, statistically Lance Berkman and Derrek Lee have been considerably better at first base based on their UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating). Even Adam LaRoche has played a better first base over the last 2 seasons.

Peña’s best season came in 2007 when he hit 46 homers and drove in 121 runs. He had an on-base percentage of .411 that season and a Pujolsesque OPS of 1.037.

The two seasons after that showed much lower, but still respectable production with and OPS in 2008 of .871 and in 2009 of .893. (He actually led the AL in homers in 2009 as well.)

Then last year the bottom fell out. Peña still hit 28 homers last year, but he batted only .196 and his OPS was .723.
Peña will turn 33 during the season next year, so it is obvious the he is past his peak. Before he joined the Rays in 2007, his statistics were fair at best…his batting average from his time in Texas, Oakland, Detroit and Boston was .243 and had an Fukudome-like OPS of .789.

Peña will take a walk and, in fact, as averaged 93 bases on balls over the last 4 seasons.

Now, I don’t know a ton about this guy…I haven’t really seen him play all that much as he was in the American League…but here are the facts…

Peña has shown a statistical decline over the last 3 seasons. He is going to be 33 years old. The Cubs have no money.

Lance Berkman signed with the Cardinals for $8 million
Adam Dunn signed with the White Sox for $12 million (in 2011).
Adrian Gonzalez was traded to the Red Sox and will make $4.75 million in 2011.

Was any other team out there going to sign Peña for $10 million? Hell, we should have just brought back Derrek Lee for a year and given him a $10 million then.

The end result is that, if Peña doesn’t work out, he’s gone after one year…and that’s good. If he does work out, well, with Ramirez, Fukudome, Silva, Samardzija and Grabow all having expiring contracts, the Cubs could give Peña an extension (no more than 2 years please) for more money.

But, once again, Scott Boras has duped a team into overpaying for one of his players.