Chicago Cubs Shopping for First Basemen, But Who's Actually Close to Signing?
It's no surprise that the Chicago Cubs are looking for an everyday starter at 1st base, especially after they lost Derrek Lee in a trade.
They also lost Micah Hoffpauir after he signed with the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan. Hoffpauir was the front runner for the starting job.
But also adding to this, the Cubs have not won a World Series in over 100 years, making them more desperate to acquire a dependable bat.
There are many candidates for the job, with a good free agent market at 1st base this offseason. But here are the closest possibilities.
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Lance Berkman had the worst season of his career this year, making his value lower.
That's good news for the Cubs, who already spent millions on Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, and so on.
Berkman, 34, had consecutive seasons with more than 20 home runs for 10 seasons. Some of these seasons, he drove in more than 100 RBIs, or hit above .300.
This all-star is undervalued, especially after he was injured for the first time this year.
But don't forget, Berkman is also an above average defender, and a leader in the clubhouse.
He also showed signs of productive at-bats in the 2010 postseason with the Yankees for the first time this past season. This was after he fully recovered from his injuries.
Berkman would be an excellent bargain for the Cubbies if they can sign him.
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Don't be surprised if this veteran returns in a Cubs uniform next season.
Lee, 35, declined in offense production last season, hitting only 19 home-runs while hitting .260. Like Berkman, this was a down year for the All-Star gold glover.
But remember, his defense did not decline. And his offense is still acceptable.
Lee also has strong ties to Chicago and their fans (after Lee was traded to the Braves and was playing at Wrigley field one day, Lee headed towards the home locker room instead of his own new team's).
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Carlos Pena is another first baseman that declined in offense.
His average of .196 tells it all.
Because of this down year, he won't come expensive, like the other candidates.
A major advantage is that Pena still hit 28 home runs, so imagine how much he can blast out of the park in hitter friendly Wrigley Field, while still only hitting .200. Probably somewhere around 35 home runs.
If Pena came back as American League Comeback Player of the Year once, I believe he can do so again for a second time.
Note that he, too, is another dependable player on defense.
Pena seems to be the front runner for the starting job, as there already have been reports the Cubs are interested in the slugging hitter.