Carlos Pena: Best Jim Hendry Signing Ever?
Not to imply the Cubs had a chance this year, but if we look at the Carlos Pena signing in a vacuum, does it appear the best signing in the Jim Hendry era?
Pena is now at 20 homers and has a rapidly improving .225/.337/.457 slash. Weighted on base average (wOBA) is a stat that puts all those numbers into one, and according to wOBA, Pena has fully recovered from that early season swoon:
Hendry's signing of Marlon Byrd proved rather prescient — especially considering that season's center field darling free agent was Mike Cameron — who got released by the Red Sox earlier this year. Hendry signed Byrd to a three-year contract ($3M/$5.5M/$6.5M), which — by being just above average — Byrd has easily exceeded.
Meanwhile, Pena came to the Cubs on a one-year, $10M contract. The beauty of the signing was two-fold: At just one year, it gave the Cubs flexibility to go in a different direction next year when Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols hit the market; but it also helps saturate that same market, assuming Pena has a good year (which he is having).
This means that if Pena does indeed have a good year and show he's beating the aging bug, then the Cubs could lock him in for a few more years at an even greater discount.
Of course, both the Byrd and Pena signings were merely icing on a poptart; neither provide the sufficient boost to make the Cubs an excellent team, but taken by themselves both are pretty incredible acquisitions.