Despite how the obvious disconnect between Cubs manager Lou Piniella and GM Jim Hendry is showing itself (it didn’t even need to be said that Piniella wouldn’t want to trade Mark DeRosa; would prefer a left-handed power bat to another starter; and perhaps some bullpen help), it looked a couple of days ago that the Peavy to the Cubs deal was going to get done. Now, both sides are saying that the deal’s “dead” and the Padres are stuck with a player that everyone in baseball knows they’re not going to be able to keep until opening day, despite their protestations to the contrary. Unless the talks are again revived like some kind of macabre Frankenstein monster, the Padres and Kevin Towers are going to have a few choices and scenarios to hope for:
1) Hope that A.J. Burnett signs with the Yankees and the Braves are willing to discuss Peavy again—The Braves aren’t going to give as lucrative an offer as before and the Padres may have to forget about getting Yunel Escobar. If they get away from the deal with Charlie Morton, James Parr and Jordan Schafer, they’ll be lucky with the way the Braves will have them cornered.
2) Hope Mark Teixeira signs with someone other than the Angels and they go after Peavy—The Angels always have an outside-the-box backup plan in place if their first options don’t come through. They have the prospects to deal and if the Padres can convince Peavy to go to the American League and they wind up with Brandon Wood and either Ervin Santana or Jered Weaver, they’ll make the best of a bad situation.
3) Hope that some other team that Peavy’s willing to join (the Astros, Cardinals, Dodgers) jumps in or finds a way to get something that the Padres want from elsewhere—The Cardinals and Astros don’t have the prospects the Padres were demanding earlier, but at this point they’ve botched the deal so terribly that getting something is better than getting nothing; if they wait a bit, maybe the Astros payroll situation will be clearer and they’ll be ready to make some aggressive moves to address their pitching. I can’t believe the Cardinals are going to want to absorb Peavy’s contract, but there’s always a chance. The Dodgers have the prospects and more to get it done, but the idea of the Padres getting two of their young pitchers was nonsense from the beginning; if they can walk away with James McDonald and Ivan DeJesus Jr., they’ll have to live with that.
4) Hope Peavy relaxes his no-trade list and is willing to join an East Coast/American League team—For what reason Peavy would do this other than an lucrative contract extension is beyond me. He’s under no obligation to help the Padres in any way after this whole mess. The Yankees are still hunting for pitching and if, by some chance, they don’t get two from the still available A.J. Burnett, Derek Lowe, Ben Sheets and Andy Pettitte, they could go after Peavy. He’d want something in the vicinity of Barry Zito money to agree to go to New York and the American League, but the Yankees have the money and the remaining prospects (although the number is dwindling). The Red Sox could get it done also, but they still have to lock up Josh Beckett and don’t really need another starter. I see this as highly unlikely.
There’s always the chance that something here is salvageable, but the way it’s gone and the way the flapping mouths of Towers, Hendry, Piniella, Ruben Amaro Jr. and whoever else has had a hand in making this mess, I wouldn’t expect this to get finished until the media moves onto other things and forgets about Jake Peavy and the Padres; then something might be resolved in a stealth fashion; other than that, they’re going to get pennies on the dollar for the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner and it’s their own fault.
- On another front entirely, an irritated Manny Ramirez threatens retirement: