Carlos Pena expected to decline Cubs’ arbitration offer

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Tonight is the deadline for free agents to accept or decline arbitration and Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports that Carlos Pena will turn down the Cubs’ offer.

That doesn’t preclude Pena from eventually re-signing with the Cubs, but it means he expects to do better than a one-year deal for around $10 million on the open market.

Pena hit just .225 this year, but smacked 28 homers and drew 101 walks to end up with a solid .357 on-base percentage and .462 slugging percentage. And his .819 OPS was nearly the same as his .838 career mark while ranking 10th among the 20 first basemen with 500-plus plate appearances.

Chicago will get a supplemental first-round pick if he signs elsewhere, but Pena may have to wait for the market to settle once Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are off the board.

Marcus Stroman dealing with blister again

Marcus Stroman
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Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman might be headed to the disabled list soon, manager John Gibbons told reporters following Friday’s rain-shortened loss to the Yankees. The righty lasted just four innings on the mound before calling it a night, and gave up five runs, six hits and two walks in a performance that Gibbons claimed was at least partially affected by recurring blister issues on his right middle finger. Now, it looks like he might be removed from the rotation for some much-needed rest and rehabilitation; if so, it’ll be his second such stint this year.

Stroman, 27, has struggled to return the kind of winning record and sub-4.00 ERA that characterized his previous seasons with the club, mostly due to the combined seven weeks he missed with blisters on his throwing hand and chronic fatigue in his right shoulder. In a recent start against the Rays, things got even more gruesome when his blister appeared to start bleeding in the middle of his outing and MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm notes that the wound has constantly interfered with the right-hander’s pitch selection and delivery. When healthy, Stroman has managed a 4-8 record through 18 starts in 2018 with a career-worst 5.27 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 6.8 SO/9 in 100 2/3 innings. This will be the first year since 2015 in which he has not logged at least 200 innings in a single season.

While Stroman may not need an extended stay on the DL before he returns to the mound, it’s not clear what kind of timetable the Blue Jays expect for his recovery. He’s been the second-most valuable starter (behind the now-traded J.A. Happ) in a rotation that currently ranks 17th in the majors with a combined 4.90 ERA and 6.8 fWAR.