The talk all offseason was whether or not Jake peavy would be traded from the San Diego Padres. The Friars were/are changing ownership and like most MLB franchises were unsure of their financial future. Of course, the trade never happened and the Padres have broken camp with their ace in toe. The Braves, Cubs and Yankees were all said to interested in Peavy, and why not? He’s one of the best in the game and has a hall-of-fame trajectory.
The deal with the Braves fell through after they refused to give up highly-touted prospect Tommy Hanson, which the Padres said was a prerequisite for a deal for Peavy. The Yankees lost interest after they were able to sign both C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and the Cubs were curiously unable to secure a deal. So this begs the question, will Jake Peavy be a Padre for the entire ’09 season?
The Padres ownership situation is still in limbo and that appears to be the biggest snag as to whether or not a deal will be done. Peavy loves San Diego but has made it clear he would prefer to play for a contender. SO let’s play devil’s advocate. Peavy gets traded, but where?
Chicago seems like the most likely destination. They want a fifth starter and Peavy would give them the best rotation in baseball with the likes of Zambrano, Harden, Dempster, and Lilly. The Cubs also have the minor-league talent to make a deal, but lack the true blue-chip pitching stud that the Padres want in return. If the Cubs were to get Peavy, a third team might have to be drawn in. That might be a further hinderance to a deal.
If the Braves contend this year, their tune may change in regards to Tommy Hanson. As of now, they are coming off a 90-loss season and want players like Hanson to secure a strong future. If the Braves are contending by June or July, they might be more willing to deal Hanson to make a push well into October. It seems as though Hanson is the only thing the Padres want from the Braves, however, so if they still refuse to deal him, Peavy won’t be a Brave.
Anytime a high-priced talent is on the trading block, the Yankees have to be considered a strong contender to bring him in. They have highly-touted young pitchers in the likes of Phil Hughes, Humberto Sanchez, and Andrew Brackman and if Joba doesn’t pan out in the rotation, Peavy would put the Yanks over the top. This one’s not impossible, especially if Joba pitches in the ‘pen or if Pettitte or Burnett hit the DL for an extended period of time.
The Red Sox
Anytime the Yankees are involved in trade talks, you can go ahead and assume that their proverbial Joneses, the BoSox are in those talks too. Beckett, Matsuzaka, and Lester are locks in the rotation, but if Smoltz, Penny and Wakefield can’t stay healthy/effective, the Red Sox might be in the Peavy market. The problem is that they would likely have to part with Clay Buchholz and I doubt one of the brightest minds in baseball (Theo Epstien) would give him up. If Smoltz, Penny, and Wakefield can’t stick, it’s likely that the Sox would just give Buchholz the chance he already deserves.
Peavy is still young and has a lot more effective years to pitch; if Padres ownership is willing to pony-up the bills and can convince Peavy that they will contend within the next year or two, there’s no reason why an extension beyond this year can’t be reached.
The Blue Jays
Not a chance in hell. But hey, a fan can
dream, right? Imagine how good Peavy would look in the Flashback
Friday Powder-Blues. Pretty great right?
2008 Record: 63-99, 5th NL West
2009 Prediction: 5th NL West
Impact Player: Adrian Gonzalez
Impact Pitcher: Jake Peavy
Top Prospect: Kyle Banks, 1B
Significant Acquisitions: INF David Eckstein, OF/1B Cliff Floyd, C Henry Blanco, P Kevin Correia, P Chris Britton, OF Emil Brown, UTIL Chris Burke
Significant Losses: SS Khalil Greene, C Josh Bard, C Michael Barrett, P Shawn Estes, P Trevor Hoffman, P Bryan Corey
It’s hard to believe that the San Diego Padres were one run away from beating the Rockies in a one-game playoff for the NL Wildcard in ’07. In ’08 the Padres, not unlike the Rockies, experienced a massive fall from grace. They finished with the second-worst record in the NL at 63-99. Unfortunately, the Padres probably won’t improve much this season and are likely a few years away from making any noise. The team tried very hard to trade ace Jake Peavy in the offseason and still might do so at some point this year; and all-time saves leader and maybe the most popular Padre ever, Trevor Hoffman, was let go and signed with the Brewers. It’s going to be a long year for Padres fans (sorry Kaybee).
If there is a
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strength the Padres possess, it is in the top end of their
starting rotation. Peavy will likely be in another uniform before the end
of the season, but is a true ace capable of putting up great numbers.
Last season he was only 10-11 due to god-awful run support, but still posted a
very good 2.85 ERA. After Peavy, the Padres are hoping for the return to
health of Chris Young. Young was limited to only 102.1 innings in ’08 due
to shoulder problems but is a solid #2 when healthy. After that, the
rotation falls off a cliff. Cha Seung Baek returns and is likely going to
be the 3rd starter after going 6-10 with a 4.79 ERA last year and the fourth
and fifth spot will be battled for by three pitchers: Off-season signing Kevin
Correia who returns to his hometown but had a 6.05 ERA in San Fran last year;
Josh Greer who was impressive in a 27 inning stint with the club last season
posting a 2.67 ERA; and 24-year-old lefthander Wade LeBlanc who has an outside
With Mr. Padre, Trevor Hoffman gone, the closer position in San Diego is in
limbo for the first time in 15 years. Heath Bell has been handed the job
and has earned it. He has been one of the most consistent setup guys in
the NL over the past few years. Chris Britton was acquired from the
Yankees organization and could develop into a solid setup option; and the main
lefthander will be Justin Hampson who had a 2.93 ERA in 30 innings last
year. Mike Adams has a spot waiting for him when he returns from his
shoulder injury in late May or early June after a very solid ’08, but taking
his place for now will be mid-relievers Cla Meredith, Chad Reineke and either
Mike Ekstrom or Scott Patterson. The second lefty job will likely go to
either Joe Thatcher or LeBlanc if he doesn’t start.
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Rotation (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)
- Jake Peavy (R/28)
- Chris Young (R/30)
- Cha Seung Baek (R/29)
- Kevin Correia (R/28)
- Josh Greer (R/26)
- Heath Bell (R/31) — CLOSER
- Chris Britton (R/26)
- Justin Hampson (L/29)
- Cla Meredith (R/26)
- Chad Reineke (R/27)
- Mike Ekstrom (R/25)
- Wade LeBlanc (L/24)
- **Mike Adams (R/30) — OUT UNTIL MAY/JUNE W/ SHOULDER INJURY
The Padres won’t do well this year, mainly because their hitting is atrocious. They were 15th in the NL in batting average last year and dead-last in runs scored. This year will be no better unless there are some HUGE surprises in store. Veteran Brian Giles is back and will play Right but is a mere shell of his former self. He’s still reliable, but no longer has the ability to carry the team. In Center will likely be the re-emergent Jody Gerut who fell into obscurity after a couple good seasons in Cleveland and popped up in San Diego last year to post a .296 batting average with 14 home runs and 45 RBI. The Leftfielder job will be battled for by Chase Headley and Scott Hairston. Hairston was a solid power threat last year putting up 17 home runs in only 112 games but had only 31 RBI and a .248 batting average. In the infield, Adrian Gonzalez returns at First. He has become a premier hitter in the NL; in ’08, in spite of being in a terrible hitter’s park, he still hit 36 home runs and drove in 119. At only 27, the Padres can build around this slugger who might be an MVP contender if the Padres were a winning team. Kevin Kouzmanoff mans the other corner and has developed into a solid player and Luis Rodriguez will likely start at Short. Look for 22-year-old Everth Cabrera to join the Pads at some point during the year and challenge him for the job. Career Shortstop David Eckstein was signed in the offseason to play Second Base and leadoff. Catching will most likely be the responsibility of Nick Hundley who needs to improve offensively but is a solid game-caller for someone his age (25).
On the bench, the Padres signed Cliff Floyd who helped the underdog Rays capture an American League pennant in ’08. Floyd is probably not an everyday player anymore but will provide a capable bat and the ability to play the outfield and First. The Padres signed former Cub Henry Blanco to be their backup catcher and could start if Hundley takes a step back. The bench should be filled out by the loser for the job in Left, infielder Edgar V. Gonzalez, and possibly Cabrera and minor-league invitees Emil Brown, who can play effectively in the outfield, and utility-man Chris Burke.
Lineup (Handedness/Age on June 30, 2009)
- 2B David Eckstein (R/34)
- RF Brian Giles (L/38)
- 3B Kevin Kouzmanoff (R/27)
- 1B Adrian Gonzalez (L/27)
- CF Jody Gerut (L/31)
- LF Chase Headley (S/25)
- C Nick Hundley (R/25)
- SS Luis Rodriguez (S/29)
- INF Edgar V. Gonzalez (R/31)
- OF/1B Cliff Floyd (L/36)
- C Henry Blanco (R/37)
- OF Scott Hairston (R/29)
- UTIL Chris Burke (R/29)
It’ll be a long year for the Padres. Even their strongest area, the starting rotation, is weak in comparison to most NL teams and will get weaker if they decide to trade Peavy. Their offense might be the worst in baseball and will have a hard time getting leads for their pitchers. I’m thinking the Padres’ year will likely be 2011 or 2012. Final Prediction: 66-96, 5th NL West