Everyone knew after the Derrek Lee trade, the Cubs needed someone at 1st base next season. They signed Carlos Pena to fill that void. He signed a 1 year, $10 million deal with Pena receiving $5 million in 2011 and $5 million in January 2012.
With the Cubs losing out the Red Sox on Adrian Gonzalez and no viable candidates in the minors, they had to sign one in free agency. They were targeting a left-handed 1st baseman with a power in their bat and can play solid defense, which is exactly what Carlos brings to the table. He hit .196 last season with 28 home runs with 84 RBIs, but he had a 14.9 % BB% and an obscenely low .222 BABIP, which will go back to the norm for him next season, which will lead to more base hits, more RBIs, and more runs scored for the Cubs. His plate discipline should also help his BABIP as well and will help a Cubs offense which had a .320 OBP last season which ranked 11th in the NL and 21st in baseball. He should fit in well next to Aramis Ramirez in the lineup and he will flourish being a left-handed power hitter at Wrigley. He hit .227 with 39 homers and 100 RBIs in 2009, when he was selected for the AL All-Star team. His 2007 season was his best, when he hit .282 with 46 homers and 121 RBIs and he helped the Rays reaching the World Series for the 1st time in 2008.
Pena’s defense is Gold Glove caliber, and with a very young Starlin Castro at shortstop and Aramis at 3rd,it only makes the addition of Pena better. With both throwing low to 1st, Pena’s strong defense will be needed, and he will need to pick a lot of balls out of the dirt, as Derrek Lee had to do with the two before his trade to Atlanta. He had a -2.8 UZR last season, however, and a -4.6 UZR in 2009. He did have plantar fasciitis last season and it must have limited him in the field, especially on the artificial turf at Tropicana Field.
The Cubs are taking a risk on Pena, who is looking to rebuild his stock and land a lucrative multi-year contract in 2012 with free agent 1st baseman such as Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. He could be the second-best free agent 1st baseman with a solid bounce back season in 2011 and with Scott Boras as his agent, he will get his pay day. With their starter at 1st base solved, the Cubs will now focus on adding a mid-rotation starter and improving their bullpen in free agency.