Padres expect closure on Peavy today
Trade likely to go down before Meetings end, or not at all
LAS VEGAS -- Since arriving at the Bellagio on Saturday, Padres general manager Kevin Towers has not gotten a good night's sleep, though his restlessness is not the direct result of the many distractions Las Vegas has to offer.
Towers' insomnia has been the result of ongoing trade talks with the Cubs and a third and fourth team Towers has roped in to try and get a deal done for 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy, an exercise that has occupied all his time and energy this week as well as that of his staff.
"I'm tired," Towers said on Wednesday.
But, alas, the end could be near as Towers and Cubs general manager Jim Hendry are to speak at least one more time before the Meetings end Thursday, and Towers has gone as far as to tell reporters that he will know one way or the other by then if a deal is to be had.
"We had more dialogue today than any other day," Towers said of his talks with Hendry. "We'll know [Thursday]. Before we check out of this hotel ... we'll know if we have a deal. This has been the entire focus of baseball [operations]."
As he entered a ballroom at the Bellagio for Thursday's Rule 5 Draft, Towers indicated that he had not had any conversations in the morning with Cubs GM Jim Hendry about Peavy.
Towers said for the first time Wednesday that, in all likelihood, a fourth team would need to be involved in a deal with the Cubs and the Phillies to ensure the Padres get the package of players, Major League-ready pitching as well as prospects, they want for Peavy.
At the heart of a potential deal is Peavy, as the Padres are looking to deal his $11 million salary in 2009 and the remaining four years on a contract he signed a year ago that totals $63 million.
If the Padres liked what the Cubs alone had to offer in the way of compensation, then this trade would have been done weeks ago. Instead, Towers has successfully pulled in a third and fourth team to ensure the Padres get the quality of players -- not quantity, Towers said -- in return.
"[Getting] a number of players fills more holes, but there has to be a couple of guys in this deal who can make an impact on our team soon," Towers said.
Towers thinks the only thing holding up the deal is the need for the Cubs to move one or two contracts -- namely pitcher Jason Marquis and his $9.875 million salary and possibly second baseman Mark DeRosa and his $5.5 million salary for 2009.
The Cubs could ask the Padres to assume part of Marquis' salary, something that Towers would rather not do. However, he said Wednesday that under the right circumstances and the right return of players, he would consider it.
The Phillies are said to want DeRosa and are thought to be willing to trade left-handed pitcher J.A. Happ, 26, who was 8-7 with a 3.60 ERA at Triple-A Lehigh Valley a year ago. Happ profiles as the kind of pitcher the Padres like -- a strike-thrower with strong control -- and one who could slide into the starting rotation in 2009.
There are some reports that a deal would include 24-year-old Kyle Kendrick, who was 11-9 with a 5.49 ERA with the Phillies last season. A Padres source said one rumored deal that would land the Padres shortstop Jason Donald or pitcher Carlos Carrasco from the Phillies was entirely false.
The Cubs could offer a package of third-base prospect Josh Vitters and possibly an outfielder, Felix Pie, in return, as well as a reliever Kevin Hart.
The Padres do figure to get at least one pitcher on Thursday -- with or without getting a deal done for Peavy.
On Thursday, the Padres will attempt to bolster their rotation by selecting one or as many as three pitchers in the Rule 5 Draft, though insiders don't regard the class of players who are available in the Major League phase of the Draft as being exceptional.
The Padres, based on their regular-season finish in 2008, will pick third in the Draft after the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners. Each player costs $50,000 and must stay on the Major League roster the entire season or be offered back to their original team for $25,000.
"There are some guys we're interested in taking, but a lot depends on our roster situation ... everything is tied to this [Peavy deal]," Towers said.
Corey Brock is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.