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Cubs Sun Nov 28 2010

This Week In Cubs Offseason: First base

It has been slow these last few weeks news wise as it usually is this time of year, but with the winter meetings taking place a week from today expect things to pick up. There are several positions that the Cubs need to address before Opening Day 2011. Let's take a look at a key spot on the diamond, first base.

The Cubs poor season forced them to trade their long time first baseman Derrek Lee to the Atlanta Braves. The move created a huge hole not only defensively, but offensively as well. Replacing Lee's ability to save would-be throwing errors from his fellow infielders is going to be difficult. There are several first basemen available this offseason.

The only thing stopping the Cubs from getting just any first baseman is money. However, there are a few names that deserve some consideration and won't break the bank. You can cross Adam Dunn off the list. Dunn has expressed interesting in playing for the Cubs and would be the ideal candidate to replace Lee's offensive numbers, but his shoddy defense and price tag disqualify him. In his career he has hit .282 with 46 RBI, 25 HR and 1.061 OPS at Wrigley.

It's hard to argue with those kinds of numbers, but his downside out weighs his upside. His strike out totals are horrendous. Dunn struck out 199 times last season and has struck out over 100 times 9 times in his career. The idea of Dunn sounds good, but when broken down he is better left alone.

A few other names that have been linked to the Cubs are Lance Berkman, a notorious Cub killer, Adam LaRoche, Nick Johnson and Lyle Overbay. The Cubs would be better off resigning Xavier Nady if they were going to sign LaRoche, Johnson or Overbay. The aforementioned first basemen are best suited for platoon roles versus being starters.

One other name that wouldn't hurt the Cubs to consider is Tampa Bay's Carlos Pena. It has been reported by the Chicago Tribune that the Cubs are interested in Pena. Out of all the free-agents out there this one appears to be the best for the Cubs.

With Pena coming off his worst offensive year of his career where he batted just .196 he is not in a position to be making huge contractual demands. That right there is a plus for the Cubs who aren't looking to spend outrageous amounts of money. Pena is also a left-handed power hitter which makes him even more valuable to the Cubs offense, which is lacking in lefties. And to make him even more enticing he's a former Gold Glover.

There are a total of 22 free-agent 1B available for the 2011 season according to MLBtraderumors.com There are a few the Cubs should look into and others that they should steer clear of all together. General managers should begin making deals during the course of next week as the hot stove begins to heat up.

*All stats for Dunn and Pena can be found at baseball-reference.com


Extra innings - Steve Cochran formerly of WGN Radio and currently hosting a Friday morning show on ESPN Radio interviewed former Cubs manager Lou Piniella, click here to listen.

 
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