The three big splashes the Cubs made this off-season were the signings of Carlos Pena and Kerry Wood and the trade for Matt Garza. But are they done?
Carlos Pena was an interesting signing. Prior to Carlos’ couple decent years at Tampa Bay, he averaged a .246 clip over his first 5 years… so you can’t reasonably expect much more in that category. On the other hand, there is some upside to our $10 million 1B. Pena’s averaged more than 90 walks, 20 doubles, 100 RBI and 30 HRs each year over the last four years. Oh yeah, he’s also an All-Star, a Gold-Glover and a Silver Slugger. Hopefully Hendry and the Cubs find Pena in a career contract year a la Adrian Beltre a few years back.
Kerry Wood’s signing makes a little more sense to me than Carlos Pena. Number one, he’s a fan favorite. Every Cubs fan loves Kerry Wood and loved seeing him come back from being an oft-injured starter to perform as closer a couple years back. Number two; you can never have enough Bullpen help. Cubs starting pitching only managed one complete game last season and the starters were often out of the game by the 5th and 6th innings. Finally, on our roster of $15-20 million players, Kerry only cost us $1.5 mil and finished last season with a 3.13 ERA (Career 3.65). A fan favorite? A solid late-innings right arm? A cheap buy? Predictable numbers? Makes sense to me.
The Matt Garza trade made the biggest wave this Winter. There is a big stink about how the Cubs gave up 5 prospects for Matt Garza and a couple less-than-ideal prospects in return. There is concern about Garza’s fly-ball rate and the defense behind him. There is concern that the two big prospects we gave up, Chris Archer and Hak Ju-Lee, will end up coming back to bite us. I like the fact that he’s young still, (27) did well in the toughest division in the Majors, has been to the World Series and has shown flashes of some electric stuff. He may not be a Cliff Lee or a Zach Greinke, but he’s a solid, innings eating starter with potential #1 status on the Cubs.
With all the bad contracts and limited amount of funds, it will be tough but I see Jim Hendry making another move or two this off-season. Since the Garza trade, Gorzelanny was dealt to the Nats for 3 prospects and Sean Marshall solidified a better looking bullpen by avoiding arbitration and signing a 2-year deal. There is a logjam in the outfield with Soriano, Fukudome, Byrd and Colvin and we could probably use an upgrade at 2B but I haven’t heard whether or not that’s a top priority. The Cubs are also trying to secure Marmol to a multi-year deal. After all is said and done there are still many question marks with this Cubs team. If our young guys can play well, if our old guys can stay healthy and play well and these moves pan out, we’ll be there in 2011.
I guess we’ll see what happens soon enough. Less than a month til pitchers and catchers report! Go Cubs!
About the Author
Written by Paul Jackson
I'm a full-time student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. I love the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and Bulls.