Statistically, at least if you use batting average, Carlos Pena was the worst hitter of any player in the majors last season, with a .196 average. Now, we are all smart enough to know that OBP is more important, and in that regard, Pena did a bit better, as he will draw a walk.

But, beyond that, the real problem for Jim Hendry and the Cubs is this:

They need to face reality and admit they are undergoing a rebuilding strategy.

Oh, I know. The faithful Cubs fanbase has waited so long, blah blah blah, but really, what are the advantages for a team like the Cubs to pretend to be contenders when we all know that is not the case?

To sell tickets? Sure, that's something that the Ricketts family is concerned about, but more importantly, by retaining Hendy as GM, the Cubs put themselves in the awkward position of having a GM that needs to win to validate the awful contract he signed, while knowing that the payroll has to shrink.

That is a bad combination, no matter how you look at it.

Look, Hendry can't move Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Kosuke Fukudome or Carlos Zambrano without eating a huge chunk of their enormous contracts. So, instead, Hendry is signing a veteran like Pena, instead of trying Tyler Colvin at first base.

But why? Other than to try and fool the fanbase into thinking that the Cubs are contenders, it makes little sense.

The Pena signing is not the problem, other than the dollar amount (which is way too high), Pena is a good rebound candidate. The problem is that Hendry is in denial.

Tom Ricketts said that the Cubs would build from within and the payroll would remain static, though more of it would be moved into other areas like player development.

That is good, except it makes little sense when the team has so many immovable contracts.

Either the Cubs should go "all in," like the White Sox, or admit they are going young and play Colvin at first, Castro at second, Hak-Ju Lee at short and trade a guy like Zambrano, who is movable, though they would have to eat a portion of his money.

Instead, Hendry is telling us that with a couple moves, the Cubs can be contenders. Well, that ship has sailed. The worst place for a franchise to be is mediocrity.

The Cubs are selling false hope. While I'd love to be wrong, I am not buying.

Admit it, Cubs fans, this will be, at best, a mediocre year for our Cubs. I don't know about you, but if we're not going to win, I'd rather lose with prospects than with veterans. But that's just me.

Maybe it's because I'm a southside Cubs fan.

By Bob Warja


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