Chicago Cubs: No. 49: Carlos Pena
Carlos Pena was a first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers in 1998. He came with high expectations, yet his big league career got off to a slow start as he bounced around from Texas to Oakland to Detroit to Boston before landing in Tampa Bay and finally taking off. In 2007, Pena broke out by hitting 46 home runs, driving in 121 and posting a 1.037 OPS, good for ninth in American Leauge MVP voting.
That would be Pena’s best season, and while he would continue to hit for power over the next three years with the Rays, his batting average dipped every year, from .282 in 2007 to .247 to .227 all the way down to .196 in 2010. Pena then became a free agent, and Cubs GM Jim Hendry, desperate for a left-handed hitting first baseman with the departure of Derrek Lee, signed Pena to a one-year deal.
As expected, given the low batting average, the Pena deal was met with plenty of skepticism. However, Pena, wasn’t too bad in his only season with the Cubs in 2011, hitting 27 doubles and 28 home runs while driving in 80. He also walked 101 times and brought his former Gold Glove-winning defense to the Cubs infield.
Pena returned to the Rays in 2012, where his batting average again fell below the .200 mark. He bounced around a couple more years before his career quickly fizzled out. We can now find Pena on MLB Network, where he serves as an analyst.