The Chicago Cubs weren't going to sit idly by and watch the St. Louis Cardinals snag an aging slugger—33-year-old Carlos Pena is their official replacement for 35-year-old Derrek Lee, having signed a one-year, $10 million deal to play first base at Wrigley in 2011.â†µ
It's a sign of how far baseball has come, sabermetrically, that Carlos Pena picked up a $10 million deal coming off a season in which he hit .196. Now three seasons removed from his Norm Cash year in 2007, Pena is as dependent on his "secondary average" qualities—home run power, 90 walks a season—as any player in baseball. Much as I hate to say it, this isn't a bad deal for the Cubs; Pena led the American League in home runs in 2009 and has proven himself a capable slugger even at .230.â†µ
Like the Berkman deal the Cubs are paying a slightly higher annual value than you might expect from somebody coming off a down season, but 33-year-old first baseman with an OPS+ of 134 over the last four seasons don't typically agree to one-year deals.â†µ
Unlike the Berkman deal, Pena is going to be able to play his natural first base — but for what it's worth, the defensive metrics don't think he's good at it.