Cubs Reward Carlos Pena's .196 Batting Average With $10 Million

The Cubs have signed Carlos Pena, who hit .196 last season, to a one-year, $10 million contract. Let's first get a few things out of the way: no, .196 is not a very good batting average, but 48.4% of his hits went for extra bases, and he drew a good number of walks. His OPS+ was 102, or just barely above average, and his Offensive Wins Above Replacement number was 1.5.

For the money, and because 32-year-olds who hit under .200 give me the creeps, I might have taken a closer look at fellow free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche, but that's neither here nor there. Pena's batting average and contract have provided us with several pieces of statistical trivia:

- Last season, Pena became the second player since 1950 to record 484 or more at bats while hitting .196 or worse. The other is Tom Tresh, who hit .195 for the Yankees in 1968.

- Within the last 60 years, Pena is one of seven players to hit under .200 and still have enough at-bats to qualify for the batting title. He's joined by Mark Reynolds, who hit .198 in 2010.

- No player, following a sub-.200 season, has received $10 million the following season.

- Pena's batting average on balls in play (BABIP) was .222. This is the 18th-worst among all players since 1970 to qualify for a batting title. This suggests, among other things, that Pena ran into some bad luck.

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