Carlos Pena hasn’t even had a chance to play a game as a Chicago Cub, but that hasn’t stopped him from feeling right at home with the organization and his new teammates.
“I feel already at home and that says a lot about the clubhouse,” Pena said. “They’ve welcomed me with open arms and I really appreciate that.”
Pena signed with the Cubs over the offseason as a free agent after four seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays.
“I’m really happy to be here” Pena said. “It’s been great.”
But it’s not just being in Chicago that has Pena happy. He, along with his Cubs’ teammates, will be faced with the daunting task of breaking the organization’s World Series drought. It’s a burden that has crippled some players under the pressure, but a burden Pena welcomes, just as his new teammates have welcomed him, with open arms.
“It’s in our hands to get the City of Chicago exactly what they have deserved for years,” Pena said. “So, what a great opportunity. What a blessing to be in this position. And I don’t take it for granted, I don’t think anyone here does.”
Cubs fans would most likely settle for a playoff berth this season. 2007-08 stretch was the first time the franchise played postseason baseball in back-to-back seasons since it won consecutive World Series championship in 1907 and 1908. But after being swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008, the Cubs haven’t been abel to get back to the playoffs.
Just like the Cubs are looking to regain their form from a few seasons ago, Pena is trying to rebound from one of his worst seasons as a professional. Pena had a dismal .195 batting average in 2010, but did hit 28 home runs. If Pena can get back to his 2009 self (.227 BA, 39 HR, .893 OPS) then the Cubs will have a much better chance of reaching the post season.