Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Trade Rumors

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Jake Peavy wants to be a Cub - c'mon, Jim. Sack up!!

The San Diego Union Tribune reported Wednesday that our new favorite Jake is telling his BFF (baseball friends forever) that he wants to be a Cub. 

Absolutely no doubt in this reporter's mind that his reasoning probably starts with the love he has for us, the Die Hard Cubs Fans!!  He wants to pitch for us!  He wants to be the cheeze in our macaroni!  The saw-seege in our deep dish pizza!  The Old Style in our plastic cups....

/sound of phonograph needle being dragged across record.  God, I hate Old Style

...anyway, J-Dog notes we should "spend some cash on the most epic pitching staff ever".  Heh.  That sounds seriously cool.  To be able to install the filthy and unhittable Rich Harden as the Best Fifth Starter in Baseball History.  Which actually would be absolutely in tune with his physical capabilities (ie. the need to rest him).  It would also allow us to just, utterly, DUMP the Marquis du Suck on anyone who is willing to waste a roster spot on his silly ass, and yes, I am also assuming that we're paying the freight on him, too.  But this is the only way that du Suck ISN'T pitching for us in 2009, and if you already have Peavy, Dempster, Z, Lilly and Harden, there ain't no shame in a straight salary dump concerning Marquis.

Yes, logic dictates that what we have now (no Peavy, Harden #4 and Marquis #5) is not only sufficient, but head and shoulders above the rotations of every other team in the known universe.  BUT....that's what we have, now, and we got swept in the NLDS.  Again.  Yes, logic dictates that if the Braintrust thinks it has an extra $12MM or so to spend, that the sensible place to spend it would be a left handed hitter, preferably one that can lead off and/or play right field.

BUT WHAT IF we instead got Peavy, and got Fukudome into playing shape (Uncle Lou intimated the other day that Fooky was soft in the middle), and just juggled the batting order?  Put ARam 3rd, Soto 4th, Soriano 5th, Lee 6th, and spin the Wheel of Fortune for a leadoff man (my needle stopped on DeRosa)? 

I would just LOVE to see that, as some sort of Bizarre Sports Experiment, all Defense, all the Time. 

Hey, it worked for the 1985 Bears? 

Rick Sutcliffe works for YOU

The Chicago Tribune is reporting today that Rick Sutcliffe is apparently trying to land a lobbyist gig for the Chicago Cubs.  He's been blowing up the phone of Padres ace Jake Peavy in order to convince him to accept any trade to the Chicago Cubs.

In some ways, Sutcliffe was Kerry Wood before Kerry Wood got his first pimple.  He was an amazingly talented pitcher who caught the imagination of Cub fans with a handful of dominating seasons who ultimately left Chicago after years of arm injuries.  And, as a kid, he was my favorite Cubs pitcher.

You know, the Cubs are interesting in that way.  Maybe it's not unique to them, but throughout my history of following the team, they have had a knack for acquiring colorful characters with a potent combination of talent and personality.  It's just unfortunate for the Cubs that they have rarely had enough of those guys at one time to win anything.

I've told this story before, although at this point it should probably be more legend than fact because I seriously doubt I'd be able to back it up with a source if anybody challenged me.  But when Sutcliffe retired from baseball in 1994 as a 38 year old man with a broken wing, he was asked about which team he'd enjoyed playing for the most in his career.  He answered by saying "I'm a Cub.  That's me."  I have a feeling that Wood will take the same approach whenever he retires, regardless of where he goes next.

As for Peavy, my spidey-sense tells me that he won't be traded to the Cubs any time soon.  However, while this has so far been the most disappointing off-season in recent memory, I still feel confident that the Cubs will do something to improve.  Jim Hendry, don't fail me now.

I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors, but I think Kevin Towers has a sick sense of humor

Short one this a.m.

Bruce Miles on the prospects the Cubs could be neatly wrapping up and putting bows on for the Pads:

The Cubs believe they can get a deal done without involving a third team. The Padres are looking for young talent, and Cubs names out there have included lefty Sean Marshall, center fielder Felix Pie, infielder Ronny Cedeno and minor-league pitcher Jose Ceda, whom the Cubs obtained from the Padres in a July 2006 trade for infielder Todd Walker.

Ceda was a brief sensation in spring training this year, and no doubt the Padres wouldn't mind having him back.

Insiders say the Padres have thrown a host of other possibilities at the Cubs. Among the most attractive Cubs minor-leaguers are catcher Welington Castillo, third baseman Josh Vitters and pitcher Mitch Atkins.

Meanwhile, the Braves still feel confident about their offer.

Also, I'm considering doing a live chatter sort of thing tomorrow afternoon, to do some Hot Stove stuff and answer questions from readers. Does that sort of thing intrest you guys?

The power of the no-trade clause

More nonstop Peavy action!

The San Diego Union-Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times are both reporting that Peavy could veto a trade to the Braves if it involves shortstop Yunel Escobar, the key player in the deal from their end. He and his agent worry that the Braves won't be competative if they give up too much major-league ready talent.

If that's the case, the Cubs are probably the frontrunners for Peavy's services. Towers has narrowed the list of teams down to the Cubs, Braves and Dodgers. The Dodgers would likely have to pay a premium to get the Padres to trade Peavy within the division. Hendry admits he made an offer but wouldn't offer specifics.

Kevin Hart is another player who could be available.

UPDATE: Jeff Passan of Yahoo! claims to have the package the Padres asked for:

The Padres have asked the Cubs for right-hander Jeff Samardzija as the headliner of a package that could include outfielder Felix Pie, pitcher Sean Marshall and infielder Ronny Cedeno. Other potential pieces, another source said, were pitcher Kevin Hart and minor-league pitcher Donnie Veal.

...

The inclusion of Samardzija – whose much-discussed no-trade clause is limited, according to a source – could motivate the Padres to complete a deal. As he left the general managers’ meetings in Dana Point, Calif., on Thursday, Padres GM Kevin Towers told a small group of reporters that he planned on trading Peavy before the winter meetings, which start Dec. 7.

Some non-Peavy stuff:

On the off chance that three trade rumor posts a day aren't enough...

Here's the latest.

Robothal:

In the first big showdown of the offseason, it's the Braves vs. the Cubs for Padres right-hander Jake Peavy.

Both teams continued to target Peavy as the general managers' meetings concluded Thursday, and the Padres' discussions with the Cubs could be expanded to include a third team, according to major-league sources.

...

The details of the Cubs' proposal are not known and likely are fluid. The Padres could spin one or more of the players they would receive from the Cubs to get additional pieces from another team, sources said.

...

The Padres are seeking young pitching in any deal for Peavy, who has a full no-trade clause but has informed the club that he is willing to go one of five National League teams. The Yankees and Angels will become viable options only if the Padres fail to reach agreement with one of Peavy's preferred clubs, but such a scenario appears unlikely.

Peavy almost certainly would require some type of inducement to approve any deal. At minimum, he probably would ask for a full no-trade clause for the rest of his contract. He also could ask for a team to guarantee his $22 million option for 2013, or provide some other type of compensation. Padres general manager Kevin Towers said Wednesday that Peavy has established different criteria for different teams.

The Braves are not going to trade their top pitching prospect for Peavy. The Padres desire young pitching.

More from Towers:

He said that the Jake Peavy trade talks have progressed to a point where the pitcher has been told he’s going to be traded, it’s just a matter of when a deal is struck.

“That train has left the station,” Tower said.

Towers also revealed that he is dealing with three teams, all in the National League. He mentioned the possibility of Peavy moving as part of a multi-team trade.

The Padres are known to be dealing with the Braves and Cubs. The third team could be the Cardinals or Astros. The Yankees are not in the mix.

"It’s been narrowed down for quite a while and there have been no additions,” Towers said.

For those of you wondering how or why a Peavy deal is going down, this should clarify some things:

Padres CEO Sandy Alderson reiterated Wednesday that the payroll hasn't been set for 2009, but Alderson did not dismiss the possibility that it could be near $40 million, the ballpark figure players told The San Diego Union-Tribune in August.

“We've discussed everything from something in that range to something higher,” Alderson said.

The club opened last season with a $73 million payroll.

Ace pitcher Jake Peavy, the subject of recent trade talks with the Braves, Cubs and Dodgers, is guaranteed an $11 million salary for 2009. That would chew up nearly 30 percent of a $40 million payroll. Peavy's salary will jump to $15 million in 2010.

Cutting Peavy would go a long way toward getting those salary figures down. Another $6.5 million could be cleared by trading shortstop Khalil Greene. There has been some chatter about Greene being packaged with Peavy, although apparently the Braves aren't interested.

Padres AGM Paul Depodesta blogs about trade rumors, obviously not saying much concrete about Peavy's situation.

Peavy rumors have legs now, good, solid legs

When stories like this start popping up, in conjunction with Jim Hendry, things start pointing a lot more at WHEN, rather than IF. 

The article mentions Jeff Samardjia and his no-trade language.  I have to believe any trade with the Padres HAS to include our most likely prospect, and I also have to believe that it won't be hard to talk him out of his no-trade, to go to the American Riviera....

Rumors aplenty

Adding to the fire of speculation, Nick V mentioned in the shoutbox that, according to ESPN1000, Jim Hendry may also be looking at Marlins players Scott Olsen and Jeremy Hermidia.

I'd be a little surprised to see that trade happen because the Cubs probably lack the kind of prospects Florida is seeking.  However, after thinking about it I have to think that it is exactly the kind of trade that might happen.

It's typical for baseball fans to focus on the trades and acquisition of name players, if only because we already know who they are and that makes it easier to talk about.  But while a Jake Peavy trade has to be unlikely - even if Colin says it might not be - a trade for two young players who most Cub fans aren't familiar with but have a good amount of promise and talent is incredibly more likely to occur. Here's a closer look at Hermidia and Olsen:

Scott Olsen - 24 year old LHP, 8-11, 4.20 ERA, 201.2 IP, 113K, 69 BB
Olsen has never really had an outstanding season, but as a younger pitcher that can't really be held against him.  He certainly wouldn't have the same impact as a Peavy, but I have to figure he's likely to outperform Marquis next season at a fraction of the cost.

Jeremy Hermidia - 24 years old, LHB, .249 AVG, 17 HR, 61 RBI, 48 BB, 138 K, .323 OBP, .729 OPS
Hermidia didn't have a great year last season, but in 2007 he batted .296 with 47 walks and 18 homeruns in 429 at bats.  As a young lefty, he's probably ideal for what Jim Hendry is looking for while allowing Hendry to free up salary room to upgrade elsewhere.  It's conceivable that, once relocated away from the cavern in Miami, Hermidia will blossom.

Nick V failed to mention what the Cubs might surrender to acquire these two players, but Marshall and Pie seem the likeliest of candidates - assuming they aren't included in any trade for Peavy.

A rumor spends all day slaving over a hot stove for a man, the least he can do is the dishes.

Brace yourself for another shocking installment of the rumor mill!

Robothal has the stunning news:

The Cubs have emerged as a front-runner in the Peavy sweepstakes, perhaps even ahead of the Braves, according to major-league sources.

The club also is willing to give Dempster a four-year contract, sources say, a decision that should put them in good position to retain the free-agent right-hander.

Even though the Cubs are for sale, team officials apparently believe that they can absorb the four years and $63 million remaining on Peavy's contract while committing at least $50 million to Dempster over the same term.

The Cubs would have to look to cut payroll in other areas, perhaps passing on Wood and going to a cheaper right field solution. The Padres are reportedly looking for two major leaguers plus prospects, with a focus on pitching.

Victor Wang and Peter Bendix both look at potential Peavy trades, and come up with some words of caution.

From Demp's agent:

"I spoke to the Cubs here," Landis said. "They’re aware that, as of now, there’s very little possibility he’s going to sign soon with the Cubs. That’s what we’re planning as of now."

All that says (to me) is that Dempster plans on testing the waters.

What's that, Lassie? Timmy's stuck in the rumor mill?

Maybe the Cubs won't have to go far to find a left-handed outfielder; the White Sox may be dealing Nick Swisher. I think that'd be a nice buy-low situation for the Cubs.

Oh, right, Jake Peavy. Here's the latest from the UT:

  • The Pads aren't looking to package Greene and Peavy; they probably will deal the shortstop seperately.
  • Padres GM Kevin Towers says he's "down the road" in trade talks for Peavy with two teams, presumably the Cubs and Braves. Nothing is expected to happen today, however.
  • Oh, and in case you were wondering: Hendry and Towers have now bowled together, in addition to playing golf.

Hendry talks about his plans:

"We're a long way from anybody having any idea what our club will be," Hendry said Tuesday at the GM meetings. "To talk about our own free agents or somebody else's isn't [productive].

"We'll do whatever we can to make the club better before spring training. It's a process when the free-agent [period] starts. You never know where it's going."

So Hendry must wait until Dempster and Wood can negotiate with other teams Nov. 13 to see what offers are made. And that could last well into December as players see what the market bears.

The Braves apparently are interested in Dempster as well. He's expected to stay in Chicago - reportedly there's an offer from the Cubs for three years, $36 million. If he signs for that, it's a real bargain. I don't know that he will.

Be the GM (part 2)

One of my commenters from my post earlier today went ahead and outlined all the moves he would make for 2009.  Love 'em or hate 'em (hate), I think his premise is a good one - let's some of us blog on out the next few days, set up your Dream 25 for 2009.  You can go whole hog crazy, or you can play it close to the ol' MacFail sweatervest.  Let us know what moves you'd make, and give us your opening day 25. 

I have mine here on the steno pad on my desk.  But I was raised to let my guests have their turn first, before I took mine.  If I brought out a Mr. Freeze for myself, that I needed to bring one for everyone else out there, except for Jeffy.  He's diabetic.  I would just bring him an ice cube.

Please keep in mind some of the guidelines I stuck out there last month.  These things basically still apply.

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