Carlos Pena sits again, this time against a righty

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The Cubs wagered $10 million that Carlos Pena would return to 2009 form while playing in Wrigley Field, but after going 0-for-4 on Thursday, he’s out of the lienup for the third time in six games Friday.

Unlike the previous times he sat, this time it’s happening against a right-hander, Arizona’s Armando Galarraga to be specific.

Pena is hitting .159 and has just one extra-base hit in 63 at-bats. As usual, he’s walking a lot, giving him a .289 OBP. However, he’s also fanned 23 times and none of his usual power has showed up.

In 2010, Pena had one of the best seasons ever for a sub-.200 hitter, finishing with a .196/.325/.407 line, 28 homers and 84 RBI in 484 at-bats for the Rays. Of course, the Cubs were expecting better than that. Because of his power and patience, he was a well above average regular while hitting .227 in 2009. However, with his power seemingly dwindling, even if he gets his average back up to .230-.240, he may no longer be much of an asset.

The Cubs will have to figure something out soon, because Pena is a huge liability as is. Creating a reason to stash him on the DL and then getting him regular at-bats in the minors for a couple of weeks would be ideal. If they go that route, then Jeff Baker and Tyler Colvin would likely share time at first base.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.