Peavy rejects trade to White Sox
Ace says staying in San Diego is best for 'me and my family'
CHICAGO -- Jake Peavy will be taking the mound Friday night, but it will be against a Chicago team and not for a Chicago team.
The Padres ace used his no-trade clause to block a potential trade that would have sent the All-Star right-hander to the White Sox in a 4-for-1 deal, which reportedly included Chicago's top pitching prospects in Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard.
Peavy made this announcement public through a statement prior to San Diego's game on Thursday night.
"Right now, this is the best place for me and my family," Peavy said.
After Peavy's intentions were made clear, White Sox general manager Ken Williams issued a statement addressing the pitcher's decision.
"It was communicated to me earlier this evening that Jake Peavy is simply not yet ready to make a commitment to join the Chicago White Sox. I understand where Jake is coming from given the unusually early timing of this type of event," Williams said. "It's understandable that he was caught a bit off guard, as most people in his position would be. He has a wife and three young boys to consider, and Jake has earned the right to thoroughly think through this move.
"He and his agent, Barry Axelrod, have been transparent in their thoughts, respectful and complimentary of what we have accomplished with the White Sox, and understand our desire to win another World Series title. I walk away with a greater respect and admiration for both as a result.
"Anyone who has followed our club knows we still have championship aspirations for this season and will continue to improve our current club by pursuing all of our various opportunities," Williams' statement concluded.
News of the potential deal made its way Wednesday to Peavy, who met with Padres manager Bud Black after a 2-1 win over the Giants to discuss the White Sox interest. Peavy also talked with White Sox reliever Scott Linebrink, a friend and teammate in San Diego from 2003 through 2007.
Linebrink said that Peavy asked very pointed and direct questions during their Wednesday afternoon conversation, but left the chances of Peavy coming to the White Sox at 50-50 when Linebrink spoke with the media Thursday morning.
"It's his decision. It's his family," Linebrink said. "He has to do what's best for them. I would say that given the trades that have not come to fruition, he's kind of running out of spots to go. This may be a chance for him to get out of San Diego.
"He was there all last year and experienced that 100-loss season. I'm sure he doesn't want to do that again. This is probably looking like a pretty good opportunity for him to get out there and get with a winning team."
In the end, the opportunity wasn't a good enough fit for Peavy to make the move at this time. Axelrod said on Thursday that he had contact with the Padres on Wednesday, when he was "asked about Jake's feelings about the possibility of [playing for] the White Sox."
Axelrod was also asked if Peavy had changed his mind about his preference to remain in the National League, something he has stated often in the past.
"No one has told us there's any deal in place," Axelrod said.
White Sox reliever Matt Thornton, who pitched on the same Team USA staff as Peavy during the 2009 World Baseball Classic, described Peavy as a sinker-slider guy, whose "sling to his arm" would help keep his pitches down and make him effective at hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field. Linebrink didn't think Peavy's desire to stay in the National League weighed on his mind and echoed Thornton's thoughts about Peavy maintaining his front-line status in Chicago.
"His stuff is as good as anyone, so I don't think it matters American League or National League," said Linebrink of Peavy.
Those questions were the only ones the White Sox could answer as they departed the clubhouse following Thursday's 20-1 drubbing at the hands of the Twins. The players and White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen certainly wanted Peavy to join the team.
Guillen is a major proponent of winning through speed and pitching, but aside from Mark Buehrle's 6-1 start, the White Sox rotation has struggled mightily this year. Peavy would have provided a strong one-two punch with Buehrle, while taking pressure off of John Danks and Gavin Floyd.
With or without Peavy, though, the White Sox knew they simply had to focus on Friday's Interleague opener against the Pirates.
"When I heard about it, I thought that was a great move for Kenny, but it's nothing you sit around and wait for," Thornton said. "If he does come here, great. If not, so be it."
"I expect to have a nice dinner with my wife and that's it. I'm not really into it," Guillen said before Peavy made his decision. "The last thing I'm going to think about is the thing today, and the last thing I'm going to think about is what Peavy says. Hopefully, when Kenny calls or sends me a text message, it's the one we would like to have."
Since taking over as White Sox general manager before the 2001 season, Williams has made more trades than any other GM in all of baseball. Those acquisitions range from top young talent such as outfielder Carlos Quentin and left-handed pitcher Danks to key veteran additions such as pitchers Freddy Garcia and Jose Contreras, outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. and designated hitter/outfielder Carl Everett.
Garcia, for whom the Sox outbid teams such as the Yankees, Contreras and Everett all contributed to the team's 2005 World Series title. Griffey was acquired at the 2008 non-waiver trade deadline, with the future Hall of Famer having to provide his consent before moving from the Reds to the South Side of Chicago.
Williams also has seen the other side of the trade coin, much like what happened with Peavy on Thursday. In 2004, with Frank Thomas and Magglio Ordonez sidelined by injuries, the White Sox had a deal in place to bring in Carlos Delgado from Toronto. But Delgado used his no-trade clause to block that potential deal.
Peavy has stated that his intention is to remain in San Diego, and it is believed that if he were to agree to a trade, his preference is to remain in the National League.
The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner is in his eighth Major League season. He has spent all of those with the Padres and has a career record of 89-67 with a 3.21 ERA. He is 3-5 with a 3.82 ERA in nine starts this season.
A considerable part of any trade negotiations could be the money remaining on the contract Peavy signed in December 2007. Peavy, who is making $11 million this season, will make $15 million in 2010, $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012. The Padres hold a team option for $22 million with a $4 million buyout.
According to Linebrink, Peavy expressed a desire to stay with whatever team acquires him through the remainder of his deal.
"He told me he's really not looking to go anywhere else, and he's kind of looking at this as his last move," Linebrink said.
Peavy was nearly traded last offseason to the Cubs, who pulled the plug on a potential deal at the Winter Meetings in December. The Padres were actively shopping Peavy because they were trying to shed payroll to get close to the $40 million mark targeted by club chairman John Moores. Peavy is coming off a complete-game victory Sunday over the Reds in which he allowed one run with eight strikeouts and no walks. He threw a career-high 92 strikes in that game, against 29 balls.
As for Richard, whose name surfaced in the deal, he exited the White Sox clubhouse with his sights set on Saturday night's start against Pittsburgh. Now, those plans won't have to change.
"There's two ways to look at it. You can look at it like someone's trying to get rid of you or you can look at it like someone's trying to get you," said Richard, who added that he was not yet directly informed by the White sox about the trade.
"Either way, it's not going to give you an accurate show of what you're worth," Richard said. "There's so many things that go into a trade that, as a player, you can't really worry about it. You just have to worry about what you can control."