In November, there are a lot of rumors, but it seems pretty clear that the Cubs are definitely finalists among teams trying to acquire Cy Young winner Jake Peavy, the 27-year-old right-handed stud of the San Diego Padres.
If you haven't heard this news yet, then you're probably wondering why the Cubs would be trying to land another right-handed starting pitcher. Then again, there's certainly an appeal to having Jake Peavy on your staff.
Since Peavy is not a free agent, this would require a trade. The rumors have consistently included lefty reliever/starter Sean Marshall along with another Cubs utility player like a Mike Fontenot or Felix Pie. Reliever Kevin Hart's name has also been thrown out there. Apparently the asking price is high and Peavy's other suitors, the Atlanta Braves, are getting impatient.
It's particularly interesting that the Padres have made a push to get a deal done with Peavy so early in the off-season when the big name free agent pitchers have not been signed off the market. Teams would likely be a bit more aggressive in trying to acquire Peavy knowing that fewer guys were available.
Either way, does moving some pieces for Peavy make sense for the Cubs? Not without implying some other free agent moves. One thing seems certain--it would imply something about Ryan Dempster's future as a Cub. A rotation with Zambrano, Dempster, Harden, Peavy and either Lilly or Marquis (the last two in the final years of their pricey contracts) simply doesn't make sense. Somebody has got to go. Getting Peavy for the right deal could potentially give the Cubs more money to tote around the market for offense should they not sign Dempster. If Dempster is truly willing to take a smaller contract to play in Chicago, he still makes more sense. The Cubs still do both, but the Cubs would have to shop around someone like Harden or see if someone will bite on Marquis' contract despite him making more than he deserves.
If the deal includes Sean Marshall and Felix Pie as the centerpiece, I'm okay with it, but I feel like by now, the Padres have probably turned down that offer. Marshall would be missed as a left-handed option, but Pie is still a work in progress. Shipping out Pie would imply Fukudome moving to center in platoon with Reed Johnson and then freeing up right field for a free agent.
Though it barely need mentioning, there's an x factor in a deal for Peavy. In Peavy's two post-season starts, he's been abysmal. In the 2006 NLDS against the Cardinals, Peavy finished with a 12.10 ERA. 2006 was in fact his worst career year, and he did follow up that season with a Cy Young Award, but you can't help but get a sick feeling knowing he detonated in October. That's the last thing the Cubs need if they should be so fortunate as to make the playoffs a third straight year next season.