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.