Winter Meetings Day Two: Cubs Close on Carlos Pena?

Updated – 12/8/10 – 1:00am CTThe Cubs are close on a one-year, $10 million deal with Carlos Pena. Multiple reports early Wednesday morning indicated the Cubs had agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Carlos Pena. According to the Sun-Times, the deal is close but not done and could be made official after a Wednesday morning meeting with Scott Boras.

Jim Hendry called Tuesday a “good day” and reiterated the Cubs are only three or four moves away from competing for a division title in 2011. Hendry told the Sun-Times that he feels like the first two days in Orlando have gone well and “hopefully we get something done before we leave” on Thursday.

According to Bruce Levine, Jim Hendry discussed parameters of a contract for Carlos Pena with Scott Boras on Tuesday night … and the Cubs are “very close” on a two or three-year deal with Carlos Pena. Pena is the Cubs ‘Plan A’ for first base and Levine expects the deal to be done soon. Levine speculated it could be a two-year, back-loaded deal worth around $14 million that could include a vesting or a club option for a third year.

According to a report from Cubs.com, sources indicated the Cubs and Pena “had finalized a one-year contract, but a team official said it was too early to say the deal was done.” Carrie Muskat tweeted early Wednesday morning, the deal with Pena is believed to be one year and $10 million.

The Cubs met “mostly with other teams on potential trades on Monday and spent Tuesday talking primarily to agents.”

The second day of the Winter Meetings was full of rumors for the Cubs … and did the Tigers offer Armando Galarraga for Tom Gorzelanny? Here’s the update …

Carlos Pena and First Base
Will it be Carlos Pena, Adam LaRoche, Chris Davis or none of the above?

The Cubs were linked to all of three first basemen on Tuesday … and depending on the rumor, the Cubs appeared to be close to signing or acquiring one of the three on Tuesday.

Several reports indicated the Cubs had turned their attention to Adam LaRoche and wanted to close the deal. But as fast as those reports surfaced, they were shot down.

A report from Ed Price on Tuesday afternoon indicated the Cubs were discussing a deal with the Rangers that would net the Cubs two players … Chris Davis and Darren O’Day for Robinson Chirinos and a pitcher. Reportedly the Cubs have been interested in Davis for weeks but what they may be willing to give in return is the question.

Jim Hendry met with Scott Boras again Tuesday night to discuss Carlos Pena. Hendry took one of Boras’ favorites, Greg Maddux, along for the second meeting.

According to Bruce Levine, Hendry discussed the parameters of a contract with Boras, who is looking for a two to three-year contact for Carlos Pena.

Pena has recovered from the plantar fasciitis he dealt with last season.

Bruce Miles reported Tuesday afternoon that nothing was imminent with Pena but Bruce Levine had a different story.

During his check in with Fred Huebner and Jonathan Hood (ESPN 1000) on Tuesday night, Levine said the Cubs were very close on a two to three year deal with Carlos Pena. Levine speculated the deal could be worth $14 million over two guaranteed years, with the second year being back loaded. Levine said the third year could end up being a vesting or club option.

According to Levine, Adam LaRoche was always one of the Cubs’ Plan Bs … despite the reports that surfaced on Tuesday. The Cubs talked to LaRoche but never got to the point that was reported.

Bruce Levine Chat
Mr. Talkin’ Baseball held his weekly chat on ESPN Chicago Tuesday morning. Here are the highlights:

  • Tyler Colvin is the Cubs ‘Plan B’ at first base. Colvin will learn how to play first base at the Major League level regardless if the Cubs add a first baseman or not.
  • Jim Hendry is looking for “another home” for Kosuke Fukudome but will not trade him before he finds a left-handed bat to replace him in the lineup.
  • The Cubs inquired about James Loney twice.
  • The Cubs are discussing relief pitchers with the Rangers and the Blue Jays.
  • According to Levine, the Cubs are still interested in acquiring Jason Frasor.
  • The Cubs will need to make trades to bolster their pen.
  • The talk in Orlando is Kerry Wood will re-sign with the Yankees.
  • The Cubs are interested in Chris Davis … and the Rangers like Robinson Chirinos. The two teams “are looking to expand the deal where it would be Chirinos and a pitcher going to the Rangers for Davis and a pitcher, a reliever off the big league staff.” Levine said the deal is being explored by both sides.

Tom Gorzelanny
Jim Hendry denied shopping any of his players, but according to multiple reports the Cubs are talking to teams about Tom Gorzelanny.

According to a report from the Sun-Times, the Tigers have expressed interest in the Cubs’ southpaw. Bruce Levine reported the Tigers offered Armando Galarraga for Tom Gorzelanny … no word if the Cubs are interested in making the deal.

Outside of the “perfect game” last season, Galarraga posted a 4-9 record in 25 games, 24 starts, for the Tigers with a 4.49 ERA and a 1.34 WHIP. Galarraga is two seasons removed from a 13-7 mark with a 3.73 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. (Galarraga’s Page on Baseball-Reference) Galarraga is arbitration eligible for the first time this winter.

The Cubs did not deny the rumors about Gorzelanny making the rounds on Tuesday afternoon according to the Sun-Times.

Miscellanous Notes
According to a report from Carrie Muskat, the Cubs are expected to name Mariano Duncan the new hitting coach of the Tennessee Smokies. The former big leaguer played 12 seasons for the Dodgers, Reds, Phillies, Yankees and Blue Jays and has served as a Major League coach for the Dodgers since 2006. The Cubs are expected to announce the rest of their minor league coaches next week.

Two former Cubs signed Minor League contracts with the White Sox … Jeff Gray and Daryle Ward. (Link from Baseball America)

Ryan Theriot decided to not take the Cardinals’ to arbitration this winter and agreed to a one-year contract with St. Louis. Theriot will be paid $3.3 million in 2011 while playing on the right side of the Cubs-Cardinals rivalry.

Mike Quade told the Sun-Times that Jeff Samardzija has a “way to go.” Quade mentioned Andrew Cashner made a lot of progress last season and “now we need to get Samardzija going and make that kind of progress and become a more effective pitcher as well.”

The White Sox have expressed interest in Kerry Wood according to Ken Rosenthal.

According to Bruce Levine, the Cubs trainers have checked Brandon Webb’s medicals and now the team doctors are looking at them. Webb could not be ready by Opening Day but the team remains interested in signing him.

Additional Rumors from Day Two of the Winter Meetings

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Well, there’s the update … and I’m sticking to it.

Quote of the Day

"Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings." - Salvador Dali
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