The Cubs fell to 23 games under .500 after Saturday’s 12-5 blowout loss to the rival Cardinals, but they continue to sit tight as the trade deadline approaches. In fact, they’re actually making some of their more coveted players unavailable.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Cubs have begun informing interested teams that first baseman Carlos Pena will not be traded this summer.
Pena signed a one-year contract with Chicago this past winter and will become a free agent in November. But the Cubs want to keep him around for reasons that can’t be fully explained. According to MLB Trade Rumors’ most recent Elias Rankings, Pena is not likely to become a Type A or Type B free agent this offseason, so the Cubs do not stand to gain compensatory draft picks when (or if) he signs elsewhere.
Pena, 33, has posted an .860 OPS since May 1 and is up to 20 home runs for the season.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that the Pirates will sign reliever Felipe Rivero to a four-year contract extension that includes two club options. The total value of the deal is believed to be $22 million and each club option is worth $10 million.
Rivero, 26, did not come to an agreement with the Pirates to avoid arbitration in his first year of eligibility ahead of last Friday’s deadline. He requested a $2.9 million salary for the 2018 season while the Pirates countered at $2.4 million. This extension will cover all four years of Rivero’s arbitration eligibility and the two club options can cover his first two years of free agency as well.
Rivero was one of baseball’s best relievers last season, finishing with 21 saves, a 1.67 ERA, and an 88/20 K/BB ratio in 75 1/3 innings. The Pirates acquired him from the Nationals along with minor leaguer Taylor Hearn ahead of the 2016 non-waiver trade deadline in the Mark Melancon deal.
Presumably, Rivero’s extension was in the works before he knew anything about the Andrew McCutchen trade. He made a couple of tweets following this afternoon’s news. In one, he used only the “facepalm” emoji. The other was a .gif of The Office character Jim Halpert yelling, “What is going on?”