Thursday, November 20, 2008


Surprisingly, I have not written too much about the Jake Peavy trade talks. I wrote earlier that the Padres should NOT trade Peavy, but apparently the divorce of Padres owner John Moores is more important that fielding a competitive baseball team. Go crazy Padres fans, go crazy. Boycott anyone?

But the real story here is why the Peavy deal has not been completed yet. The Padres have negotiated extensively with the Braves and Cubs, both of whom would love to add Peavy. It would have benefited both sides to have completed this deal by now, but because of the gird lock, Jake Peavy remains a Padre, for now. So what's the holdup?

1. The Contract
After the 2007 season, Peavy signed a team friendly extension (3 years/$52 mil) with the Padres through the 2012 season. Even though Peavy could have probably tripled that contract on the open market, he gave the Padres the "San Diego discount" thinking that this deal would keep him in the sunshine for the foreseeable future. Not if John Moores' divorce has anything to do with it! So now, as the Padres look to move Peavy, they are asking for a premium package in return because whoever acquires Peavy will get an ace pitcher at a bargain price.

So that conceivable should put the Padres in a power position to get a fantastic return on a Peavy trade. Right?

2. No Trade Clause
Ooops. When the Padres gave Peavy an extension last winter, they also included a full no trade clause for the ace right hander. My bad.The full trade clause has come back to bite the Padres in the butt because Peavy can eliminate any team that he does not want to be traded too.

And all indications are that Peavy wants to stay in the NL, which eliminates bidders like the Yankees and Angels. I suspect that if Peavy were to be traded to an AL team, he would want to be handsomely compensated ($$$) for going against his original wishes. In turn, AL teams would not offer the Padres as much for Peavy because they know that they probably would have to sign him to a huge contract.

Also, the no trade clause adds significant leverage to National League teams, who will be hesitant to offer a premium package to the Padres because they know that the number of Peavy suitors has been diluted. When less teams are involved in trade talks, it becomes more difficult to start a bidding war between two teams and in turn, receive the desired package of players. I suspect this is where the Braves are playing hardball. They know that the market for Peavy is small, so they are refusing to give up their top prospects (Schafer, Hanson, Heyward) and are refusing to part with more than one premium talent (Yunel Escobar).

By having a say in where he winds up, Jake Peavy is undercutting the trade market. The buyers in the Jake Peavy market need to be patient. If the Padres are really set on dealing Peavy, then their price will come down in time. Just look at what happened with Johan Santana last year. And if I'm a Padres fan, I pray that Peavy stays a Padre. If that cannot be done, pray that Peavy has a change of heart and will accept a trade to the AL. It is not a fun time to be Padres GM Kevin Towers.

No comments: