Milwaukee Brewers: Without Prince Fielder, They Must Sign Cubs' Carlos Pena
The Milwaukee Brewers need to start planning for life without their All-Star first baseman Prince Fielder. While there is no replacing someone of Fielder’s caliber, the next best option for the Brewers would be to sign Chicago Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena.
Since the start of free agency all of the first baseman talk has been about Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder. However, Pena’s power and productivity should not go unnoticed. The 33-year-old Pena belted 28 home runs for the Cubs last season and will provide good power to make up for the loss of Prince.
While Pena’s average is not what it used to be, he still will give Milwaukee the best bang for their buck.
The following reasons are why the Milwaukee Brewers must sign Carlos Pena.
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Aside from Prince Fielder, there is no first baseman on the market with better power than Carlos Pena. Pena will not put up the gaudy numbers that Fielder can, but the free-agent slugger is not as big of a downgrade as one may think. Pena is coming off a season in which he hit 80 RBI while posting a .357 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage. His 28 home runs were also just 10 less than Fielder.
While there is some concern about Pena’s batting average, having him hit behind or in front of NL MVP Ryan Braun will be very beneficial. Not to mention his 101 walks with the Cubs last season could even increase with having someone like Braun in the lineup.
Not only will it allow Pena to see better pitches, but his 101 walks from a season ago might even increase with having someone like Braun in the lineup.
Gold Glove Potential
Kent Horner/Getty Images
The one thing that Carlos Pena has over Fielder is his defense. Not only is Pena above-average defensively, but he is someone who is a gold glove candidate every year. His career .994 fielding percentage will be a nice upgrade for a team that ranked 22nd in errors committed last season.
If the Brewers sign Pena look for that number to go way down just like it has for every team he has played on.
Jeff Curry/Getty Images
People sometimes underestimate how important it is to have leadership and character inside a clubhouse. Carlos Pena has both of these qualities and even though he is likely to be on his third team in three years, those qualities still remain with him.
It does not matter whether Carlos Pena is on team in a playoff race, or in dead last, because no matter what the circumstances are he always brings a maximum effort every time he is on the field.
Pena’s energy and veteran presence would fit right in with the Brew Crew.
Pena Is a Much Cheaper Option
Kent Horner/Getty Images
If the Milwaukee Brewers were somehow able to keep Prince Fielder, it would essentially be the only move the team could make. While fans would be more than content with that, the Brewers now have an opportunity to sign a few key free agents.
Carlos Pena has publicly stated that he is looking for a multi-year deal, but the likelihood of him getting more than two to three years is not great. If the Brewers can sign Pena for only two years then they need to take advantage of it. Milwaukee would not have to commit to the slugger long-term, which is something they probably do not want to do.
Signing Pena to just a two-year deal would also allow the Brewers a chance to go out and add a pitcher to their starting rotation. Losing Prince Fielder hurts, but if the Brewers can sign Carlos Pena and maybe even someone like Roy Oswalt, then it would make losing Fielder sting a little less.
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
The fact that Carlos Pena is a left-handed hitter should mean a lot to the Brewers, especially considering Fielder is one himself. With Fielder on his way out the only left-handed hitter remaining in the team’s everyday lineup is Nyjer Morgan.
By adding Carlos Pena, it would allow manager Ron Roenicke the convenience of not having to make significant changes to his everyday lineup.