The Jake Peavy Deal: Why Did It Go Wrong?

CJ CurtisContributor IDecember 11, 2008

Most of you baseball fanatics have probably seen and heard the buzz about a huge blockbuster deal involving Padres fireball ace and Cy Young award winner Jake Peavy. Whether it has been with the Braves, Yankees, Angels, or, most recently, Cubs, his name has dominated early offseason trade talks.

Just during the baseball meetings in Las Vegas, almost everybody from to the Padres themselves was saying that Peavy's departure was inevitable.

Well, I'm sorry to break this news to you blockbuster loving baseball fans, but this supposedly ginormous Hollywood-worthy deal with the Cubs is just not going to happen. In fact, there is not going to be any deal involving Peavy during this offseason.

You may be wondering how on earth I can be so certain about this, so let me explain myself. The main reason for my certainty is that I am a true, diehard Padres fan, and, because of this, I make it my duty to be as knowledgeable as possible about anything to do with my team.

While this does not make me by any means the Padres expert or the authority on Peavy (as much as I wish it could), it does allow me to provide a rather healthy amount of evidence to support my case, which, because you have been so patient by sticking with me to this point, I will now discuss for your benefit.

Let us begin with the core issue that aroused all these discussions about Peavy in the first place: money. As one of the poorer franchises in the league, the Padres have not been blessed with the Yankees' unlimited payroll; it is actually quite the opposite.

These payroll problems have increased dramatically in the past few months with the traumatic divorce of owner John Moores. This lack of a usable budget is the main reason why Peavy was desperately placed upon the trade block very early in the offseason.

These financial issues placed the Padres at the end of the postseason in a very poor situation for keeping Peavy; however, several moves made since then have improved their state radically.

One such move was their graceful release of all-time saves leader and franchise leader Trevor Hoffman, which saved them about $2-5 million, although the release was actually not at all graceful and was urged by the very rude behavior on the Padres part.

More importantly, the deal which traded Khalil Greene to the Cardinals removed a considerable amount of owed money. In exchange for minor league pitcher Mark Worrell and a player to be chosen later, the Padres were able to remove $6.5 million from their payroll in 2009. This, combined with Trevor's crude release, opened a large amount of money to be used for other assets.

With the expansion of usable payroll, the urgency of trading Peavy dropped off significantly, and it gave General Manager Kevin Towers much more leverage in trades. By removing the pressure from the necessity to trade Peavy, the Padres could then look for much more talent and value in return for their star pitcher.

Although it did not eliminate the possibility of a trade completely, it lowered the probability of one by a very large margin.

Now let us consider the teams which have expressed interest in Peavy and why they were unable to gain his powerful and valuable presence.

The first, and really the only threat to Peavy's career as a Padres member was the Atlanta Braves. Needing a shortstop, the Padres wanted to receive Braves star prospect Yunel Escobar, along with a few other interchangeable prospects.

Since the Braves have always tried, for the most part, to keep their players from their farm system instead of huge established stars, the hopes for any transaction were very slim. These hopes were completely shattered when the Braves fulfilled their need for a good starting pitcher with the White Sox's Javier Vasquez.

The next team in line was the infamously wealthy Yankees, who, unlike the Braves, have nothing against taking big name players from other team for huge chunks of money. This trade died quickly, though, both because Peavy is likely to reject any transfer into the American League, and also because the Yankees had an abundance of big name players to choose from in free agency, the biggest being the dominant CC Sabathia.

The team that attracted the most media attention was by far the Cubs, as they put a pretty great effort into getting Peavy. Indeed, adding Peavy to a starting rotation that already has Zambrano, Dempster, and Harden is really a terrifying thought, but in order to do that, they needed to give up quite a few prospects, including prized third baseman Josh Vitters, which would undermine the future of the Cubs' organization five years from now.

In addition, since this particular trade involved at least two other teams, it was very difficult to appease everybody, and, as a result, the negotiations fell through the floor.

Besides these teams, only the Angels have offered minimal interest in Peavy, while every other team has shown absolutely no curiosity. Even the Angels, who already are stacked with John Lackey, John Saunders, and Kelvim Escobar in their rotation, are unwilling to give up big prospects and lose money for a pitcher that may not be truly necessary to their future success.

This in-depth analysis led me to the conclusion quite a while ago that Peavy, by no means whatsoever, was going to be traded in this offseason. Now that you know the reasons behind the Peavy discussion, you can learn not to bite at the media frenzy at the slim dreams of a trade.

So during this hot stove league, instead of worrying yourself over a suspenseful and hopeless blockbuster deal for Peavy, enjoy yourself! Watch the escapades of Manny, follow the bids for Teixeira and the innumerable free agent pitchers, even read a book, but do not get caught up in the trap that is in the unworkable Peavy trade.

Is there a chance that I could be wrong? Unfortunately, the answer to that is a resounding yes.

Is there a chance that Peavy actually will be traded? Yes, there is certainly a good chance, and, if that happens, you have every right to laugh in my face.

As a disclaimer, this is just my opinion and not actually fact, though I do present it very strongly. However, whether you are a complete baseball fanatic or somebody that does not care at all about baseball or the Padres, I believe that this argument is sufficient to persuade, at least partially, anybody that Peavy will not be traded before the regular season begins.

What happens after that...well, that is another story.