The Chicago traded 1B Derrek Lee to the Braves this off-season, but the Cubs moved Â on another free agent today signing former Tampa Bay Rays 1B, Carlos Pena to a 1-yr, $10 million deal.
Pena, 32, has averaged 36 home runs and 102 RBI in each of the last four seasons since becoming a regular starter with the Tampa Bay Rays beginning with the 2007 campaign. With 144 home runs and 404 RBI as a first baseman the last four years, Pena ranks fourth in home runs and sixth in RBI in that span among all first basemen. His average of one home run per 13.20 at-bats the last four years leads all major league first basemen while his one RBI per 4.71 at-bats (trailing only Ryan Howard) and his one walk per 6.39 plate appearances each rank second among all major league first basemen since the start of the 2007 campaign.
The deal for Pena will actually save the Cubs salary in 2011. Lee earned $13 million in 2010 with the Cubs and while was dealing with a bulging disk in his back while with Atlanta, could possibly earn at, or more in 2011 depending on who he signs with.
If the season were to start today, the Cubs would have $91 million wrapped up in 6 players. Hereâ€™s the breakdown:
The rumor has been that the Cubs will be looking to get more cost efficient under the new owners Â led by Tom Ricketts. Thatâ€™s good given the extreme contract bloat that the club has been under. At an Opening Day payroll of $146,609,000, the Cubs ranked third behind only the Red Sox and Yankees.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey, as well as a contributor to FanGraphs and Forbes SportsMoney. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
Follow Maury Brown on Twitter
Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter