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Cubs Rumors: Who Could Replace Carlos Pena?

This is an ongoing series as we enter the peak of the trade season, looking at the various internal options that each team may turn to should they trade a given core player. We've already covered possible replacements for Jose Reyes, J.J. Hardy and Ryan Ludwick- more names will come over the next couple weeks.

The Cubs signed Carlos Pena to a one-year deal this offseason hoping that a power surge from the veteran could push their offense to a new level, but injuries and generally disappointing play have instead pushed the Cubs towards a rebuilding effort. It's not Pena's fault, though, as the 33-year-old has been one of the best power hitters in the National League after struggling his way through May.

With 19 homers in 340 PA's with Chicago so far this season, Pena is arguably the premier power hitter on the trade market this year, although alternatives include Ludwick, Carlos Beltran, Mark Reynolds and possibly teammates Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano. But looking back to this season, who could replace Pena in a Cubs uniform for the rest of the season and beyond? Here are a few options, with a heady reminder that the Cubs will likely seek out a long-term solution at the position during the winter.

  • Jeff Baker: Another key trade candidate, Baker is probably more likely to be dealt than Pena given his low salary and solid track record. But the Cubs could turn to Baker as an option at first if they find a better deal for Pena; the 30-year-old has spent time at five different positions for Chicago this year, including 12 games (and 8 starts) at first.
  • Bryan LaHair: Honestly, a big part of me is curious to see what LaHair could do with the Cubs. A 28-year-old minor league veteran, LaHair has bashed 25-plus homers in each of the past three seasons, including 25 bombs in just 84 games with Triple-A Iowa this year. With an absolutely monster .352/.422/.688 line, LaHair improved his walk and strikeout rates in each of the past three seasons, so you have to wonder how much of his ridiculous line could translate to the majors. The Cubs have tried the whole "minor-league-veteran-with-big-time-numbers" thing before with the likes of Jake Fox and Micah Hoffpauir, but they may be willing to give LaHair another shot given the raw dominance reflected by his numbers and the lack of quality alternatives.
  • Tyler Colvin: The 25-year-old likely would've been the obvious replacement for Pena before the season, but horrid MLB performance coupled with a complete lack of patience in Triple-A are bad signs for his future. It's hard to forget the .246 isolated power that Colvin tossed up in 395 PA's with the Cubs earlier this year, and he's still hitting for power with Iowa, but the issues with patience have become particularly serious this year: Colvin has just four walks in 159 PA's this season, a ridiculously low 2.5% rate. The Cubs are surely still curious to see if Colvin has a future as a power hitter in the majors, but boy, that kind of impatience makes it hard to believe that he'll succeed against the world's best pitchers.