The teams have 48 hours to work out a trade or the Cubs can pull him off waivers or allow him to be claimed. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, while not addressing Pena specifically, said on Wednesday afternoon that it is "unlikely" the Yankees will make an August trade.
"I said (recently that) I think it would be very unlikely we made a trade. ... I'm going to continue to scan everything but no, I'm not optimistic of doing anything," said Cashman, who has picked up pitchers Raul Valdes and Aaron Laffey off of waivers this month. "I think this is most likely what we've got."
Pena signed a one-year deal with the Cubs this offseason, looking to improve his value for next season. He's batting only .223 but has respectable on-base (.342) and slugging percentage (.450) numbers. He has 23 homers and 67 RBIs. Pena also has played solid defense at first base.
The Yankees have primarily used Jorge Posada at DH, but he's hitting only .244 with 11 homers and 38 RBIs. The 39-year-old Posada has seen his average and power decline since 2009, when he hit .285 with 22 homers and 81 RBIs.
The Yankees could also be putting in a claim to block a rival from acquiring Pena, who is familiar with the AL East after playing for the Rays and Red Sox.
Pena is being paid $10 million for this season, but the salary will be split between this year and next. The Cubs haven't had a long-term solution at first base since trading Derrek Lee to the Braves last season and it's not clear if Pena was in their plans for next season.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley was used in this report.