LAS VEGAS – Trying to unload Jake Peavy has become such a chore for the San Diego Padres that they've established a self-imposed, curiously arbitrary deadline for a trade to the Chicago Cubs to be completed.
Tomorrow. As in Thursday, when baseball executives check out of their rooms at the Bellagio hotel and return home, another winter meetings a hectic, hazy memory.
"I told the Cubs, tomorrow is the day," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said.
Towers has become impatient with the Cubs failure to unload starting pitcher Jason Marquis and his $9.875 million contract for 2009, the condition Chicago says must be met before they agree to the three- or four-team deal that would net them the Cy Young Award winner Peavy.
The Baltimore Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies are believed to be the other teams in the deal. Names such as Felix Pie, Mark DeRosa, Garrett Olson and Kyle Kendrick have been tossed into the mix, although it is unclear precisely who would go where should the deal happen.
The Padres are willing to take Marquis, but only if the Cubs eat most of the salary. That sort of defeats the purpose for Chicago general manager Jim Hendry, who wants to trim payroll in order to absorb the $56.5 million owed Peavy the next four years and, oh by the way, have enough money to sign a left-handed hitting outfielder. Free agent Raul Ibanez would do nicely.
Should the Cubs be unable to find a landing spot for Marquis on Thursday, Towers can either go back to the Atlanta Braves, who couldn't come up with a satisfactory package for Peavy a few weeks ago, or go back to Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, and see if the pitcher will expand the short list of teams to whom he's willing to be traded.
Or Towers could extend the deadline. It's his deadline, after all. And not his first. At the general manager meetings a month ago, he proclaimed that Peavy would be traded before the date free agents would be eligible to negotiate with any team. The date came and went, and Peavy was still on the market.
- Kevin Towers