Thursday, July 21, 2011

WB2PB Trade deadline evaluation: Carlos Pena

Over the next nine days, we will take a look at one player who is in the rumor mill to join the Pirates at the trade deadline. Today's installment is Chicago Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena.






The batting order with the addition of Pena: 
1. Presley, RF; 2. Tabata, LF;  3. Walker, 2B;  4. McCutchen, CF;  5. Pena, 1B; 6. Doumit, C; 7. Alvarez, 3B; 8. Cedeno, SS; 9. pitcher 

Strengths:
  • Pena has a fantastic glove (.994 fielding percentage this year, 2 Gold Gloves)
  • 20 of his 70 hits are HRs
  • Has great plate discipline, sporting a .340 on-base percentage
  • Could take advantage of the short-porch in RF
  • Veteran presence in the clubhouse who has been to the playoffs twice, including the World Series in 2008
Weaknesses
  • Projected for his fourth consecutive 150-strikeout season, sporting a .224 batting avg with the Cubs
  • Unlikely to return for 2012, so pretty much a rental player for the Pirates. 
  • Another left-handed bat on a team that already has Walker, Alvarez and Doumit, leaving McCutchen as the only real threat as a right-handed hitter in the starting lineup.

One of the big things going the Bucs way in any deal for a first baseman is that most good teams in a playoff race have a solid one. STL-Pujols; Mil-Fielder; PHL-Howard; ATL-Freeman. The competition in the NL is San Francisco and Arizona and LAA in the AL could use a big bat at 1B

The hole at first base for Pittsburgh is so glaring and comparing Pena with Lyle Overbay is shocking. Despite hitting 9 points below Overbay, Pena is slugging 99 points better, has a 36 point stronger on-base percentage, carries a 100-point OPS edge and 13 more home runs. If Alvarez returns and plays like the late-season Pedro, Pena could hit 6th or 7th and get the bottom of the order some top. A lackluster Pedro puts Pena's bat behind Walker and McCutchen. Pena has hit 13 HRs in June 1 and is average

The Cubs are out of it andshould be trying to get something before they just pay him to stay on a team that could lose 90 games. If there is a person that the PBC can get without giving up a top or even mid-level prospect and pick up some of his cash due, Pena could be the temporary pop the Bucs lineup could use instantly.

Likely chance of acquisition: 75 percent

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