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Cubs add free agent Carlos Pena

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Ken Rosenthal

Ken Rosenthal has been the FOXSports.com's Senior MLB Writer since August 2005. He appears weekly on MLB on FOX, FOX Sports Radio and MLB Network. He's a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter.

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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.

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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:

*Re-sign Pena.

*Move outfielder Tyler Colvin to first.

*Pursue a big first baseman next offseason, when both the CardinalsAlbert Pujols and BrewersPrince Fielder could become free agents.

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 Cubs also have been talking about dealing prospects to the Rangers for first baseman Chris Davis and reliever Darren O’Day, sources said.

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.
 

Tagged: Brewers, Cubs, Rays, Carlos Pena

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