The Cubs sign Carlos Pena to a one-year deal

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Carrie Muskat of MLB.com reports that the Cubs have agreed to a deal with Carlos Pena. It’s believed to be for $10 million.

This makes sense for Pena, I think, who can use a year in the friendly confines to build up value and then return to the market next winter when there won’t be as many other first basemen around as there are this year. For the Cubs? Well, they need a first baseman because the other infielders need someone to throw the ball to.  If Pena rebounds, great, everyone is happy.  If not, hey, one year.

I think he’ll bounce back a bit, however, because (a) the NL Central is way, way easier than the AL East; and (b) his line of .196/.325/.407 was horrible, but he was really unlucky, hitting only .222 on balls in play. The average should tick up a bit, and his plate discipline is excellent, so there’s a good chance he’ll be a useful first baseman next year.

Video: Albert Almora, Jr. lays out to make a great catch in deep right-center field

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Cubs center fielder Albert Almora, Jr. robbed Giants first baseman Brandon Belt of at least a double in the top of the first inning of Monday’s game at Wrigley Field. Almora completely left his feet to catch the ball before landing just shy of the warning track.

The Giants took the early lead two batters prior to Belt’s at-bat as Joe Panik hit a solo home run to center field.

Anibal Sanchez accepts optional assignment to Triple-A

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The Tigers announced on Monday that pitcher Anibal Sanchez has accepted an optional assignment to Triple-A Toledo. Pitcher Warwick Saupold was recalled from Toledo to take Sanchez’s roster spot.

Sanchez, 33, continued to struggle this season pitching out of the bullpen. He gave up 26 runs (21 earned) on 34 hits and nine walks with 22 strikeouts in 21 innings. Nine of those 34 hits were home runs. Sanchez finished the 2015 season with a 4.99 ERA and last season with a 5.87 ERA, so he’s had a rough go of it in recent years.

The decision to go to Triple-A was Sanchez’s, Anthony Fenech of the Free Press reports. Sanchez wants to be stretched out as a starting pitcher again.