It's less than a week to the non-waiver trading deadline next Sunday, and thus we are probably in line for dozens, if not hundreds, of tweets like this one from SI.com's Jon Heyman:
carlos pena will almost surely be moved. have heard the #dbacks could be in play there. #tradedeadline
That tweet contains little factual information, just another rumor that Cubs first baseman Carlos Pena could be traded to the Diamondbacks. While the Cubs are far out of contention and are likely to make at least one, and possibly several, deals in the next week, they do still have to put a competitive team on the field for the season's last 60 games -- the next 13 of which, starting Tuesday, are against the top four teams in the NL Central, all of whom are in playoff contention, despite none of them having a record much over .500.
The Cubs don't have another true first baseman on their roster -- Jeff Baker has backed up Pena -- nor do they have a 1B in their system who is ready to take over. Bryan LaHair, who had a brief cuppa coffee with the Mariners in 2008, is the Cubs' Triple-A first baseman and having a very good year there (.338/.415/.671 with 28 HR and 78 RBI in 95 games), but he is 28 and appears to be the second coming of Micah Hoffpauir.
Pena is a free agent at the end of this season; he signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Cubs last winter; the Cubs are paying that in two installments of $5 million, one this year and one in 2012. He's affordable, but might not bring enough return to make it worth the Cubs' while to trade him.