Padres general manager Kevin Towers made it clear Monday he wants to deal Peavy to the Cubs and would like to get it done this week. Towers said he has orchestrated a three-team and possibly a four-team swap that would send Peavy to the Cubs for a package of players. However, there's a catch.
"It comes down to, 'Does Jim have the wherewithall to make it happen?'" Towers said.
Hendry would not comment on Peavy because to do so about a player on another team is tampering and subject to a fine by Major League Baseball.
"Kevin has the right to say whatever he wants," Hendry said. "He has the player."
And Towers is doing a lot of talking.
"[The Cubs are] the one ballclub we're talking to," Towers said. "There's no secret there."
Chicago manager Lou Piniella had dismissed talk about Peavy a few weeks ago, and the team's emphasis has been to add a left-handed bat. Asked Monday if the Cubs could use another starter, Piniella didn't name names but did say he wouldn't mind having another arm.
"We have six starting pitchers," Piniella said. "Any time you can add a quality, quality guy, whoever it is, obviously you look at it. I said [earlier this offseason] from basically a numbers standpoint, we have five starters and [Sean] Marshall, and that's why I mentioned that [we weren't interested in Peavy]. Any time you can improve your team either pitching-wise or lineup-wise and you can do it, get it done. If we don't add any starting pitching, I'm perfectly happy with what we've got."
The Cubs have been focused on acquiring a left-handed-hitting outfielder to slide into their very right-handed lineup, and ESPN Deportes reported that Hendry talked to free agent Milton Bradley on Monday. Hendry would only say he did meet with representatives of some of the left-handed-hitting free agents available.
"Any time you can improve your team either pitching-wise or lineup-wise and you can do it, get it done. If we don't add any starting pitching, I'm perfectly happy with what we've got."
-- Manager Lou Piniella
Peavy has been the hot topic. If traded to Chicago, the 2007 Cy Young winner would make an already good rotation even better, joining Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Dempster, Ted Lilly, Rich Harden and Jason Marquis. But the Cubs would likely have to do some payroll trimming to make room, and there were indications that the team had talked to other clubs about Marquis, who will make $9.875 million in 2009.
What the Cubs can or can't do also remains to be seen following Monday's news that the parent Tribune Co. had filed for bankruptcy. The Tribune Co. says the move does not affect the Cubs, who are for sale, and that it's business as usual. Cubs chairman Crane Kenney is expected to meet Tuesday in Las Vegas with the front office staff.
However, for the Cubs to take on Peavy and his salary, the team may need to get approval from the potential bidders. There are at least three groups who submitted bids for the team, which has been for sale since April 2007. Cubs management has informed them about the proposed 2009 budget, which will be higher than the 2008 figure of $130 million. Peavy will make $11 million in 2009, and is owed $63 million over four seasons.
Peavy does have a no-trade clause and has indicated that he would accept a trade to play in Chicago. Towers said if a deal can't be consummated by the time he leaves Las Vegas on Thursday, he will -- for the sake of the team, the fans and even Peavy himself -- take the right-hander off the market so he can be the Opening Day starter on April 6.
Towers backed off that deadline later Monday. Hendry wants his roster set by the start of Spring Training. He's got time.
"I would be foolish to put any date this week on acquiring any player," Hendry said. "Our goal is to get the best player or players for the Cubs before we get to camp. We've signed players on Christmas Eve before and made trades Feb. 6 that helped the club. We signed Greg Maddux the day before we went to camp in '04."