Pena: Rays didn't express expected interest
UPDATE, 2:45: Pena said he was "disappointed" the Rays didn't make an offer, but he understand why due to their financial situation.
"I was disappointed that Tampa wasn't able to really show that interest that I actually wanted and expected,'' he said. "But I know it has nothing to do with desire, because I know how much Andrew wanted to bring me back and how much Joe wanted to bring me back, and I wouldn't expect anything less. However, their hands were tied and that's something I understand also.''
Also, Pena said: "I still had my hopes that Tampa Bay was going to make a run at signing me. Tampa Bay has always been a special place and I think it always will be, I've never really kept that a secret. But I think because of the situation, Andrew had his hands tied and he had to move some chips. ...
"Absolutely I would never deny the fact that, obviously Tampa Bay, I'm going to miss them, I'm going to miss my teammates, I'm going to miss the area, I'm going to miss the team. And everything the team meant to me.''
Manager Joe Maddon said he figured that the Rays wouldn't be able to retain Pena, called him "one of my all-time favorites" and wished him well. Maddon also said he was confident the Rays would either be able to add a quality player to take over at first, or use Dan Johnson there and add another bat at either DH or leftfield. "We feel pretty confident that we're going to get somebody that's going to be pretty productive at that spot,'' he said.
DEVELOPING: Carlos Pena was just introduced as a Cub and said it was a "perfect" situation for him to go to Chicago on a one-year deal.
Pena said the Rays "did not express the interest" he expected, so leaving for the Cubs was a "no-brainer." Pena's agent, Scott Boras, said the Rays were "examining" their situation on Pena, but did not make an offer. "There was nothing to consider from them," he said. Pena, who made $10.125-million last season, took only a slight paycut after hitting .196, getting $10-million from the Cubs.
[Photo: Carlos Pena, left, greets Rays manager Joe Maddon at the Winter Meetings in Orlando. Marc Topkin | Times]