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Cubs add free agent Carlos Pena
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.
The Cubs came to the winter meetings intending to address only a few issues.
They tackled a big one early Wednesday morning, reaching an agreement with free-agent first baseman Carlos Pena on a one-year, $10 million contract, according to a major-league source.
The deal, which will become official once Pena passes a physical, is designed to benefit both sides.
The Cubs will fill their need for a left-handed hitting first baseman, getting a slugger who hit 28 homers for the Rays last season, albeit with a .196 batting average.
Pena, meanwhile, will get a chance to prove that his decline from an 893 OPS in 2009 to a .732 mark last season was a one-year aberration.
His agent, Scott Boras, worked a similar deal for free-agent third baseman Adrian Beltre last offseason, and Beltre went on to enjoy a monster year for the Red Sox.
The short commitment to Pena also works to the Cubs’ advantage, leaving them flexible at first for the future.
Among their options:
*Move outfielder Tyler Colvin to first.
The Rays did not offer Pena salary arbitration, giving the Cubs an added benefit — they will not lose a draft pick for signing him.
The status of those talks is uncertain in the wake of the Pena signing. The team is discussing trades with a number of clubs.
The addition of a reliever, however — either through a trade or free agency — still could make sense: The Cubs are strongly considering using right-hander Andrew Cashner as a starter next season.
Cashner, the team’s first-round pick in 2008, is considered a potential impact pitcher as either a starter or reliever. The Cubs used him entirely as a reliever last season, and he produced a 4.80 ERA in 53 appearances.