Peavy's veto revives speculation
Broken deal could mean Cubbies among future suitors
ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs will face Jake Peavy on Friday in San Diego and not in an upcoming Interleague series with their crosstown rivals, the White Sox.
The Padres and White Sox had a deal that would've sent the 2007 Cy Young Award winner to the South Side of Chicago, but the pitcher, who has a no-trade clause, rejected such a move Thursday.
Cubs manager Lou Piniella did not know about the deal until he arrived at Busch Stadium for Thursday's game between the Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals.
"He's supposed to pitch against us [Friday]," Piniella said. "You either face him tomorrow or this summer with the White Sox [in Interleague games]. What's the difference?"
Peavy has made it clear he wants to stay in the National League. That means the Cubs are a possibility if the team can get its ownership situation resolved.
At the Winter Meetings, when the Cubs and Padres were discussing a potential deal for Peavy, chairman Crane Kenney said the team did have the freedom to add payroll in 2009 and was not restricted even though the ownership situation was unresolved.
The Cubs, first put on the market in April 2007, do have a potential buyer in Tom Ricketts, but he has yet to finalize his financing for the team, Wrigley Field and a share of Comcast SportsNet. Ricketts has reportedly been courting celebrities such as Bill Murray, John Cusack and Jim Belushi to see if they want to invest in the club. The price tag is believed to be $900 million.
In December, Kenney said the Cubs didn't have to wait for a new owner to make a move.
"All of our efforts here are about improving the team," Kenney said then, while in Las Vegas. "If it means a longer-term contract that fits within the budget, then that's what it will be. If it means, as Jim [Hendry] has talked about, multi-team deals, we'll do that. [Hendry and staff] have a very good game plan and they're executing it. My role here is to do make sure that we get as much as we can within the parameters of our budget."
However, the Cubs spent the offseason trimming salary from the payroll, dealing players such as Mark DeRosa and Jason Marquis and opting not to keep free-agent closer Kerry Wood.
Hendry said Thursday it would be inappropriate for him to comment on another team's player, and he would not discuss the Peavy matter.
Starting pitching hasn't been a problem for the Cubs, who entered Thursday's game three games behind Milwaukee in the National League Central.
"We have a lot of starting pitching now," Chicago's Ryan Dempster said. "Ted [Lilly] and I were talking about it today, that the last time all five starters made at least 30 starts was the 2001 or '02 Mariners. You need starting pitching. [Carlos Zambrano's] out two weeks -- it just happens. It's always a luxury to have starting pitching."
And what about adding Peavy?
"Jake Peavy -- any team is better with Jake Peavy," Dempster said. "But at the same time, we like our pitching staff and like what we've got and feel we can get anybody out on any day."
Hendry ended talks about Peavy during the Winter Meetings when he decided the price of personnel was too high. In some of the projected scenarios, the Cubs would've given up seven players for the pitcher. He has not renewed those discussions with Padres general manager Kevin Towers.
Peavy is owed $11 million this year, $15 million in 2010, $16 million in '11 and $17 million in '12. The starter's contract has a $22 million option for '13, with a $4 million buyout clause. The contract includes a full no-trade clause for this year and '10, and a partial no-trade clause for '11 and '12. Peavy has said he'll waive the no-trade clause to go to Chicago, but so far, he has specified the Cubs, not the White Sox.
The right-hander is 3-5 with a 3.82 ERA this season for San Diego.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.