In this baseball winter that will be dominated by free-agent starting pitchers, the most intriguing commodity might be a young, frontline starter who already is signed to a reasonable contract.
Whom would you rather have? CC Sabathia for six years and $150 million? Or Jake Peavy for four years and $63 million?
The Padres, coming off a 63-99 season, will at least explore a Peavy trade, general manager Kevin Towers confirmed to Newsday. ESPN's Buster Olney first reported that possibility this past week.
The Yankees are among the teams with prospects that interest the Padres, although it's not clear whether Peavy would waive his no-trade clause to come to the Bronx.
Last week, he expressed frustration with the team's direction, telling San Diego reporters: "I want to be here, but I want to be here with a chance to win a World Series. If someone says, 'Hey, we're going to rebuild, that's not going to be our top priority,' you certainly would wonder what your other options are."
Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, who lives in the San Diego area and is very friendly with Towers, said: "My guess is, unless somebody knocks their socks off this offseason, I don't expect that Jake will be moved. I would think that starting the middle of next year and into the next offseason, there could be a significant possibility of Jake being moved" because of Peavy's significant raise from 2009 to 2010.First the positives; he's a 27 year old, Cy Young award winning pitcher. In his career he's 86-62, with a 3.25 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. Besides a couple minor injuries this year, he's been pretty durable. He threw 200+ innings in each season from '05-'07, and has had four seasons of throwing at least 194 innings in his seven year career.
It could be that Peavy, who was born and still lives in Alabama, wouldn't approve a trade to the Yankees. Said Axelrod: "I'm not sure how many teams he would approve, but I have no doubt that he would not be Eddie Whitson [with the Yankees]. He could handle the pressure in New York."
A few things scare me about Peavy, though. The main concern is the cost, and it would be hefty. We're talking about Cano, Hughes plus another prospect, and I don't think that kind of trade is worth it for the Yanks. If the Padres weren't going to ask for the moon I'd consider trading for him, but the cost will probably be far too much for it to be a smart move for the Yanks.
Peavy has also benefited from pitcher's parks his entire career. His career ERA at home is 2.77, and on the road it's 3.80 ERA. And after having the numbers even out in his Cy Young 2007 season - 2.51 at home/2.57 on the road - this season he had a 4.28 ERA on the road and a 1.74 ERA at home.
He has had some success in interleague play, though, going 8-8 with a 3.29 ERA and 113 strikeouts in 120.1 IP, so maybe switching leagues won't hurt him as much as some would expect it to.
I also wouldn't call Peavy a "big game pitcher." In two playoff starts he's 0-2 with a 12.10 ERA, and that doesn't include the one game playoff against the Rockies last year when he allowed six runs and ten hits in 6.1 IP.
Then there's the issue of handling the bright lights and media scrutiny of New York, which is always a concern with players.
It's another tough call the Yankees have in an off-season that will be fool of tough calls.