The Cubs offered incumbent first baseman Carlos Pena arbitration. But, according to the Chicago Tribune, it is unlikely that the player will accept it.
That's a bummer for Cardinals fans because if the Wee Bears landed Pena on a one-year contract through arbitration, that would pretty much take them out of the Albert Pujols derby. Now the odds are more likely that they'll be looking for a first baseman on the open market.
Pena, incredibly, apparently doesn plan to accept arbitration because he thinks he can score a multi-year deal elsewhere. Really? Thanks to his rebound season in 2011 with a .225 batting average, Pena has hit .216 over the last three seasons combined with a .346 on-base percentage. He's got power, to the tune of an average of 32 homers over the last three years. But he's not the sort of guy you build the middle of your order around. He's more like a sixth or seventh place hitter that you hope will pop a few out here and there after the big boys have had their chance.
I still think Prince Fielder makes more sense for the Cubs than Pujols -- if the Wee Bears decide to spend big money on a franchise player. It's probably going to take a couple of years for Chicago to try to assemble a pitching staff and a supporting cast. Meanwhile, the fans at Wrigley can bide their time watching Fielder swing for the fences. Pujols says he wants to win now...