Cubs signing of Cuban pitcher makes them favorites for landing Jorge Soler

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Gerardo Concepcion has agreed to terms with the Chicago Cubs on a five-year major league contract. Terms are not official but it’s allegedly for about $7 million.  This has been known for over a month already, but it’s only been made official in the past five minutes. And that means…the Cubs look like the winners of the Jorge Soler derby. They’ve been the front-runners for awhile, but this makes that position even stronger.

This signing has greater purpose as it’s supposed to be a conduit to bigger things, like $27 million for Soler, a 19 year-old-centerfielder, who’s coveted by the White Sox and New York Yankees, among other teams.

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Chicago Cubs Bring Back Kerry Wood: 1 Yr, $1.5 Million

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The Chicago Cubs and right-handed pitcher Kerry Wood have agreed to a one year, $1.5 million deal. Wood returns home to the MLB organization that originally selected him in the first round (fourth overall) of the 1995 June Draft.

The righthander made his big league debut with the Cubs in 1998 and pitched for the club through the 2008 season, compiling a 77-61 record with 34 saves, a 3.65 ERA (494 ER/1,219.1 IP) and 1,407 strikeouts in 276 appearances (178 starts) with Chicago.  Wood pitched for the Cleveland Indians (2009-10) and New York Yankees (2010) the last two seasons.

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Chicago Cubs Sign 1B Carlos Pena: 1 Yr, $10 Million

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The Chicago Cubs and first baseman Carlos Pena today agreed to terms on a one-year contract.  Reportedly for $10 million.

Pena, 32, has averaged 36 home runs and 102 RBI in each of the last four seasons since becoming a regular starter with the Tampa Bay Rays beginning with the 2007 campaign.  With 144 home runs and 404 RBI as a first baseman the last four years, Pena ranks fourth in home runs and sixth in RBI in that span among all first basemen.  His average of one home run per 13.20 at-bats the last four years leads all major league first basemen while his one RBI per 4.71 at-bats (trailing only Ryan Howard) and his one walk per 6.39 plate appearances each rank second among all major league first basemen since the start of the 2007 campaign.

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