Thursday, May 28, 2009

Brewers Rumor Mill - Jake Peavy Edition

Jake Peavy a Milwaukee Brewer? This idea isn't exactly breaking news. Peavy and the Brewers have been linked since the off season. The reasoning seems simple, Jake wants out of San Diego, the Brewers seem(ed) to have a need for starting pitching, and the Brewers farm system has the prospects that San Diego would require for a trade to take place. Adding fuel to that fire is the fact the Brewers could try to acquire Peavy just to simply stop the Cubs from getting him. The Cubs have made no secret for their desire of Jake Peavy (and Peavy's likewise desire to play for the Cubs), but the two teams were unable to put a deal in place in the off season, mostly because Chicago has a lack of depth in the farm system due to the brilliance of one Jim Hendry. According to one Cub fan I spoke with, he felt that the trade of Mark DeRosa for three Indian pitching prospects was the Cubs working to get some trade value to obtain Peavy. This, as of now, seems to have backfired with the injury of Aramis Ramirez and subsequent downward spiral that ensued due to poor Major League depth.

There are many problems with this idea though. The first is Peavy might not accept a trade to Milwaukee, for he has a no trade clause and has already used it once to block a trade to the Chicago White Sox. This however, might add fuel to his fire to get out of San Diego as he was upset that Padre ownership announced the trade before getting his approval, thus making him seem like the bad guy in both San Diego (who probably had the best deal they would've gotten) and in Chicago's south side. However Milwaukee is essentially becoming San Diego East, and Peavy would be reunited with former teammates, Mike Cameron, Trevor Hoffman, and Jody Gerut. So, could Milwaukee be an acceptable destination...though I couldn't find anything to back it up, an article on the Brewer Nation blog states:

"according to someone with inside knowledge of such matters, Jake Peavy's agent has submitted an addendum to the league office in which he has named the Milwaukee Brewers as an additional team to which he would approve a trade should one get worked out between the Brewers and his current team, the San Diego Padres."

The second problem is the cost to the Brewers. This is not a one year, wham, bam, thank you ma'am deal like CC Sabathia. Peavy has three more years on his contract ($15, $16, $17 million) and a $22 million option for 2013. For a Cy Young pitcher just hitting his prime years, this isn't really a bad deal, but it does tie up a lot of salary. Both Doug Melvin and Mark A. claim money is not the issue, and with Bill Hall and Jeff Suppan's bloated salary's coming off the books, money probably isn't the issue.

The cost issue is prospects. The Brewers, like any small market team, need a healthy farm system to be able to compete. If an all or nothing move fails, it has a negative impact for years on a team that traded its depth away. The team will fall to the bottom of the league and the fans will lose interest thinking management is clueless. If it succeeds though, it invigorates the fan base, see CC Sabathia.

So, what would the Crew have to give up? The Padres no doubt have their eye on the shortstop position. This is a spot the Brewers actually have wiggle room. JJ Hardy already an All Star Shortstop has a future star (hopefully) in Alcides Escobar knocking right behind him. In 2009 though, with Rickie Weeks already out for the season, I don't see the Brewers moving a steady hand at SS like Hardy, making Escobar the likely trade option.

Pitching - replacing Peavy is not an easy task, but the Padres will want to try. Look for a Major League arm. Manny Parra fits this bill, with tremendous upside, but still a work in progress due to inconsistancy, Parra provides a quality arm for the now and the future.

Lower level prospects - It'll take more than 2 players to get this deal done, if it were to happen, look for Jeremy Jeffress or Taylor Green's names to come up as possibilities.

So, are the Brewers willing to part with such prospects? Unlikely. Unless Mark Attanasio wants it to happen, I don't think Doug Melvin will execute this. With Hardy nearing the end of his arbitration years, Escobar is the likely Shortstop of the future. In fact, unless a deal is made for someone like a Mark DeRosa, Escobar could be called on to play 2nd at the Major League level, making him a potentially valuable part to the 2009 roster. And really, I don't think this deal gets done without Escobar involved, so, no need to even break down the other players.

Peavy seems to be a perfect match for the Brewers and I could envision this going down and wouldn't be surprised if it did. I just don't think it will happen. If the Brewers decide to make a play for a pitcher, even with a solid start to their staff for 2009, look instead for them to go to their old pal Jack Z. in Seattle. A pitcher like Erik Bedard would be a lot cheaper than Peavy, and Jack would love to get some more of the prospects that he helped bring to professional baseball.

Stay Tuned - As we get closer to the All Star Break, this will be a hot debate topic.

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