It had to be a pretty frustrating week for Cubs general manager Jim Hendry. Hendry went to baseball's winter meetings this week with visions of Jake Peavy in his head, and after four days of negotiations with San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers, Hendry flew back to Chicago on Thursday without Peavy or anybody else in the fold. Still, this doesn't mean that Peavy won't make his way to Chicago at some point in 2009, whether he'll be there for spring training or in a mid-season trade.
In truth, Hendry wasn't the only frustrated party in these negotiations. Both Peavy himself and his agent Barry Axelrod have expressed their discontent over a trade not being worked out, and both seem to be placing the blame on Towers. Considering that the only option Towers has is trading Peavy to the Cubs -- Peavy has a no trade clause and the Cubs are the only team he's willing to play for that is interested in him -- he was asking for an awful lot from the Cubs.
It doesn't matter if Peavy is a former Cy Young award winner and could possibly be the final piece to put the Cubs over the top, asking for seven players in return for one is just way too high of a price. What Hendry needs to do is come back to Chicago and wait Towers out. According to Axelrod, the Padres need to part ways with Peavy and sooner or later Towers is going to have to pull the trigger on a deal.
"The word on the street here is the Padres are in pretty dire financial straits, partly because of the economy and partly because of a 99-loss season and partly because the owner and his wife are going through a pretty difficult divorce," Axelrod said.
"And the word is they cannot infuse more money into the team right now. Without that, they are looking at a team in the $40 million [salary] range. If that's the case, then it is hard to win. And I am not sure that they can go with a $40 million payroll and pay one guy (Peavy) $11 million. It is likely between now and the middle of next year, Jake won't be with the Padres."
So it sounds like Hendry and the Cubs just need to be patient and wait until early spring when the pressure will really be on the Padres to move their ace before calling Towers again. They run the risk of the Angels possibly coming in and taking Peavy, but it's always better to have somebody else overpay for a player than to do so yourself.