Consider me among those who has been underwhelmed by the Cubs' offseason activity up to this point, but it seems that every piece of less-than-exciting news has been surrounded by a silver lining.
Glass is Half-Empty: The Cubs signed first baseman Carlos Pena to a one-year, $10 million contract. That's an awful lot to pay a guy who hit just .196 last season with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Pena's 28 home runs and 84 RBI were his worst figures in each category as an everyday player since 2004.
Glass is Half-Full: Pena, a left-handed hitter, provides the Cubs' lineup with more balance. He averaged 38.7 home runs and 107.7 RBI per season from 2007-09 and won a Gold Glove in 2008. And when was the last time Jim Hendry signed anybody to a one-year contract?
Glass is Half-Full: The Cardinals plan to start Berkman in right field(good luck with that), a position he has not played since 2007. The Cards also traded for former Cubs underachiever Ryan Theriot and plan to start him at shortstop (good luck with that).
Glass is Half-Empty: The Cubs failed to acquire Adrian Gonzalez from the San Diego Padres or sign free-agent slugger Adam Dunn when Gonzalez was instead shipped to the Boston Red Sox and Dunn signed with the White Sox
Glass is Half-Full: Having lost out on both Gonzalez and Dunn, and by virtue of the fact that they are committed to Pena for just one season make them potential suitors for franchise players Albert Pujols (don't hold your collective breath, Cubs fans) and Prince Fielder following the 2011 campaign. And Dunn, a protypical American League player, is better suited for the South Side. He'd have been a liability with the glove and on the basepaths as a member of the Cubs.
Glass is Half-Full: Baker raked against lefties, hitting .350 with a .945 OPS and full-season platoon of he and Blake DeWitt at second base has the potential to be exteremely productive. Plus, with second base addressed, Hendry can concentrate on acquiring a quality veteran reliever (Kerry Wood, please?) and perhaps a starting pitcher.
Glass is Half-Empty: The Cubs waved goodbye to longtime pitching coach Larry Rothschild who accepted a lucrative three-year contract to become the pitching coach of the New York Yankees. Rothschild provided a great deal of stability to the coaching staff and the Cubs led the majors in strikeouts in each the first seven seasons during his nine-year tenure.
Glass is Half-Full: Rothschild's pitchers, I suspect, developed an over-reliance on strikeouts. Jon Lieber, Wood, Mark Prior, Joe Borowski, and Angel Guzman all experienced arm problems on Rothschild's watch. Matt Clement, Rich Hill, Jason Marquis, and Rich Harden came up lame after leaving the Cubs.New pitching coach Mark Riggins may offer Cubs pitchers a refreshing, new perspective