It took less than 24 hours for the Jake Peavy-to-Cubs trade rumors to start swirling at the MLB Winter Meetings in Las Vegas. Padres GM Kevin Towers has said that the only team he is dealing with is the Chicago Cubs and that he wants to wrap up a deal before the meetings end later this week. Towers likes to conduct negotiations in the open, so he often says things that likely offends other GM’s, including Cubs GM Jim Hendry. Hendry cannot publicly comment on the status of any trade because the Padres own the rights to Peavy and any such statements could be seen as tampering.
Towers statements are probably done for 2 reasons – to try to draw another team into the mix to do a trade on their own or to offer prospects to the Padres in return for a player or players from the Cubs (with Peavy going to the Cubs).
At this point, it doesn’t appear that another team is willing to trade for Peavy on their own.
The Orioles and, most recently, the Phillies, are teams that could get involved to land a Cubs player in return for prospects, which the Cubs would then ship to the Padres. The latest rumor has the Phillies very interested in Mark DeRosa of the Cubs, in return for pitching prospect J.A. Happ and another prospect. Phillies 2nd baseman Chase Utley is expected to miss at least the 1st two months of the season after undergoing hip surgery after the World Series. And the Phillies have also lost left fielder Pat Burrell to free agency. DeRosa could immediately step in to fill the 2nd base void at the start of the season and then move out to the outfield once Utley shows he is healthy enough to play everyday. DeRosa had a career year in 2008 – .285 batting average with 21 home runs and 87 RBI’s. DeRosa has a ton of versatility – he played 6 different positions during the course of the year, including 96 games at 2nd base and 27 games in left field. I loved DeRosa with the Cubs – he is hard working, he can play everyday at multiple positions, and he is a great presence in the locker room. It would hurt to see him go, but if the Cubs could trade DeRosa to acquire the missing pieces needed to complete the Peavy deal, I think it’s a no-brainer. Peavy is an elite pitcher and would make the Cubs the odds-on favorite to win the NL pennant.
That being said, 2 other financial pieces could hold up the Cubs end of the bargain. The Cubs owe starting pitcher Jason Marquis $9.8 million in 2009. Unless they can find a place for Marquis somewhere, it would be tough for them to consummate the Peavy trade. In addition, Peavy is owed over $60 million over the next 4 years. Acquiring Peavy would really throw the Cubs way over budget for the next few years, so the Cubs would likely need to get some approval from the final 3 bidders who recently submitted their final bids for the purchase of the Cubs. Whether all these pieces can come together in such a short period of time is unclear.
In any event, it appears like a Peavy trade is within the grasps of Jim Hendry and the Cubs. Will it get done? Who knows. But more importantly, if it does get done, will it help the Cubs avoid an October collapse for the 3rd straight year. Good luck waiting and we’ll keep you posted here at MyCubsToday.