Peavy to Cubs remains unlikely

Tim Brown

Now that the Cubs have the financial flexibility to put another ace in their rotation, the man in San Diego holding that card said Wednesday he's still unlikely to play it.

For a handful of days in December, most of them spent in the smoky Bellagio lobby in Las Vegas, the deal that would have sent Jake Peavy to the Cubs and involved at least one other team was believed to be waiting on the Cubs dumping at least one salary (Jason Marquis') and maybe two (Mark DeRosa's).

Three weeks later, Cubs GM Jim Hendry appears to moving toward two trades, one sending Marquis to the Rockies (for Luis Vizcaino) and another sending DeRosa to the Indians (for three minor leaguers) to play third base. Even with the Aaron Miles signing, it seems Hendry has cleared about $8 million from his 2009 payroll. Peavy's salary in 2009 is $8 million.

But, no, not Peavy. Not yet.

Asked if Hendry's dealings meant talks with the Cubs regarding Peavy might reopen, Padres GM Kevin Towers responded with a one-word email: “Doubtful.”

Hendry actually has made room for switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley.

Bradley's agents have asked for a three-year contract for $30 million, according to baseball sources, and it is believed the Cubs will come close to that.

It would be in the Padres' interests to move Peavy at some point, and certainly by the trading deadline. Even in a small market such as San Diego the daily Peavy drama will be a wearying distraction, serving as a reminder the once-competitive club has gone deep into rebuilding mode. A delay also risks a Peavy injury that would damage his trade value.