Free agent first baseman Carlos Pena is taking a big gamble by signing a one-year contract with the Chicago Cubs.The 32-year-old slugger found his stroke in Tampa Bay four years ago, hitting a surprise 46 home runs, then following it up with years of 31 and 39.
But in 2010, he struggled to reach 28, batting just .196 and taking a big dip in RBI. That sent him to free agency without a firm leg to stand on.
With age and injuries catching up to him, Pena and agent Scott Boras could have tried to wrangle the best long-term deal possible — a four to five year contract that could have sent him into a nice comfortable sunset.
Instead, they went a different route. One-year, $10 million in Chicago and a six-month audition for a much bigger payday in 2011.
The bet is that a healthy Pena, in a very friendly park to hitters, can regain his 2007 form and re-establish himself as a top-tier free agent. If it works, that $10M deal could be worth closer to $20M per and for a lot longer. (And hello, Washington Nationals!)
If it doesn’t … $10M will seem like a gift. A move like this takes a lot of faith in your agent, and your client.
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