A number of media outlets, including FOXSports.com and ESPN's Buster Olney, have brought a number of interesting pieces of information into the mix in the Jake Peavy trade rumor mill, the biggest of which is that the Chicago Cubs are the rumored front-runner in the Peavy Derby.
While there haven't been any names linked to a potential bid from the Cubs, a package has started to develop from Atlanta that can provide a gauge for what the Cubs would have to top to acquire the former Cy Young winner. Among the prospects named that Atlanta would potentially be parting with are shortstop Yuniel Escobar, second baseman Kelly Johnson, minor league outfielder Jordan Schafer, and allegedly more than one minor league pitcher, one of which might be Charlie Morton.
The Yankees have also let a few potentially available player names leak to the media: Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy. This is interesting because both of these young pitchers were thought to be untouchable in the past couple years, and now they appear to be half way out the door if it would bring a stud like Peavy to the new Yankee Stadium. The Padres reportedly do not have any interest in Robinson Cano, however.
So, considering the lists that are beginning to form, what do the Cubs have that would lead them to be considered above the Braves and Yankees in this potentially hot bidding war?
Atlanta is offering either of their young middle infielders, of which Escobar is thought of as being a future star in the mold of a Hanley Ramirez. Schafer is also a highly-regarded prospect within their organization, one that saw former farmhand Jeff Francouer see time back in the minors this past year because of a slump with the big club.
The prospects being named lead me to believe that left-hander Sean Marshall and outfielder Felix Pie would most certainly have to be part of this deal. The Cubs' other top outfield prospect, Tyler Colvin, recently had shoulder surgery, which cannot help his trade value.
After these top two young players, the real intrigue comes with the other players that may be involved. Could a reliever off the major league roster such as Chad Gaudin or Neal Cotts be involved? Would the Cubs part ways with another top minor league starter like Donnie Veal in a package with Marshall? And, if the Yankees are shopping Cano and the Braves have made Johnson and Escobar available, that would lead me to believe that one from the group of Ronny Cedeno, Mike Fontenot and Ryan Theriot would likely be part of the package as well. I would also hope that, if other rumors are true and a four-year deal might keep Ryan Dempster on the North Side, perhaps Jason Marquis would be involved as well.
So a potential deal could be Marshall, Pie, Veal, and Cedeno for Peavy?
There is no doubt that the Cubs have a win-now mentality, after their disappointing finish to the 2008 campaign. The real question over this winter will become how much of the future is GM Jim Hendry willing to mortgage to get the elusive championship. After 100 seasons of having nothing but the future to hope for, perhaps the time is right to sell some of that stock for the now.
UPDATE to the update: Nov 6: Padres GM Kevin Towers implied to a number of media outlets that Peavy would likely be dealt BEFORE the winter meetings in early December. Furthermore, he indicated that he knew the 3 teams he was dealing with, and though specific packages had not been discussed, he knew "what players were available and which weren't" in ongoing negotiations.