The Pirates Still Have An Eye On Carlos Pena


In case you may have missed the news, there were a couple of trades today that may affect the Cubs at the trade deadline. The biggest trade to occur today was the New York Mets sending outfielder Carlos Beltran to the San Francisco Giants for a package of top prospects. The other trade was the St Louis Cardinals sending Colby Rasmus to Toronto. The Beltran trade likely has a bigger impact on the Cubs plans than the Rasmus trade does. Beltran was coveted by just about every contending team, including the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland Indians.

Having lost out on Beltran and presumably Rasmus as well, the Pirates still have a need for an impact bat. If the Pirates are going to contend with the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, and Cardinals they are going to have to acquire another bat to go in the middle of their order. With Beltran off the market, the Pirates will have to turn their attention to other power hitters on the trade market. One slugger on the market is Carlos Pena. The Pirates and Cubs  have already had previous discussions regarding Pena, and Pirates general manager Neil Huntington took to the media to voice his displeasure with the Cubs’ asking price.

But despite Huntington’s displeasure with Pena’s asking price, the Pirates remain interested in acquiring the Cubs’ first baseman. Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago reported today that Pirates have been scouting Pena for the past month, and they currently have a scout watching Pena on the Cubs’ latest road-trip. In addition to the Pirates, the Arizona Diamondbacks also have an interest in Pena.

But with today’s developments, I would have to imagine that the Pirates may be more interested in Pena today than they were yesterday. Though, if a trade is going to be made, there will have to be compromise on both sides. The Cubs probably do have a high asking price for Pena. Reason being the Cubs have hardly any first base depth within their organization. Considering Pena is a free agent after the season, and the Cubs consequently will have a need at the first base position, Pena could very well find himself in a Cubs’ uniform come Opening Day 2012. Also, if the Cubs wanted to let Pena walk at the end of the season, they can offer him arbitration and then receive a draft pick if he signs else where. Having said that, if the Cubs are truly searching for pitching prospects in any trade they make, they need to realize that Pena gives them the greatest chance at receiving a respectable pitching prospect or two.

As for the Pirates, as the case with many teams in the final days leading up to the deadline, a contending team will have to give in to a seller’s demands if they want the player they are coveting. This season, the Nation League Central is a very obtainable. Acquiring a player like Pena to go along with their pitching, would be enough to keep the Pirates in the division race for the rest of the season. It would be to the Cubs benefit as well to work out a trade with the Pirates, who have a plethora of quality pitching prospects in their farm system.

The Cubs and Pirates have been common trading partners at past trade deadlines, and for the Cubs sake, hopefully the two teams match up again on a Pena trade.