Tag:San Diego Padres
Posted on: November 13, 2008 6:53 pm

Braves still waiting on Peavy

Pitcher Jake Peavy's slow, torturous path out of San Diego remained on hold Thursday.

"I don't know if this is gamesmanship or what," Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, said Thursday afternoon. "At one point the Braves were hot and heavy, then they were not. And then they're hot again."

Not hot enough, however, for the Padres to agree with Atlanta on what sources with knowledge of the talks say is a four-player package that, as of Wednesday night, was likely to send shortstop Yunel Escobar, starting pitcher Charlie Morton, Class A outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and reliever Blaine Boyer to San Diego.

"I assume if and when they get to the point where they've tentatively agreed on something, they will bring us in," Axelrod said. "They have to. I haven't been updated on any progress."

The Braves had been pushing the Padres for an answer before the free agent market opens on Friday (until then, clubs can negotiate only with their own free agents).

Atlanta needs at least two starting pitchers, and the Braves, who appear to have been the most aggressive of anyone in their pursuit of Peavy, would like to go into the free agent market knowing whether they're looking at signing one starter (in the event they complete a Peavy trade) or two (in the event they don't).

"I'm not surprised it's been difficult," Axelrod said. "It's a very difficult trade to make. Notwithstanding the no-trade rights Jake has. the Padres laid out that it was going to have to be a big package.

"The other team has to assume a hefty contract -- it's a bargain this year, and hefty after that -- and give up what Kevin (Towers, Padres' general manager) deems to be enough. And if it's a starting pitcher, infielder, reliever ... that could deplete somebody's system.

"It's a tough deal to make."

Axelrod spoke by telephone with Peavy earlier Thursday when the pitcher changed planes en route home from Puerto Rico and told him there was nothing to update.

"Most of our conversations have been him asking, 'What's new? Is anything new up?' and me saying, 'No, haven't heard anything, have a good trip, see ya when you get back,'" Axelrod said.

So the Padres have neither accepted the Braves' offer nor asked that Peavy waive the no-trade clause, and the cat-and-mouse game continues.

Meantime, when a deal for Peavy is struck, it almost certainly will require more than a simple "yes" or "no" when it comes to waiving the no-trade clause. Even regarding the initial small list of potential clubs to whom Peavy has said he probably would accept a deal, the pitcher and Axelrod have compiled a checklist of sorts that they would require that includes things such as a housing allowance, guaranteeing his $22 million option for 2013 and travel for his wife and children.

Depending on the acquiring club, Peavy may require more or less from that list. It is believed that his preference is to play in Chicago with the Cubs. Wherever he lands, he is expected to demand a full no-trade clause.

"People keep asking me, 'What do you expect?'" Axelrod said. "I tell them I don't know. I've been doing this 30 years and I've never been through one of these before. I don't have any precedent.

"I had Phil Nevin and he was traded twice with no-trade clauses, and that had to be considered. But I've never had one quite like this."


Posted on: November 12, 2008 10:48 pm

Braves, Padres near Peavy deal

The Atlanta Braves, full-steam ahead in their pursuit of right-hander Jake Peavy, are offering a four-player package of players, and San Diego is expected to request that Peavy waive his no-trade clause so the deal can be completed, CBSSports.com has learned.

Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, said Wednesday evening that he had not spoken with Padres general manager Kevin Towers. And if that conversation takes place on Thursday, it still may be a bit before the Padres and Braves receive an answer -- Peavy is scheduled to fly home from a trip to Puerto Rico and will be traveling much of the day.

Under terms of the deal discussed by the Braves and Padres, San Diego would receive shortstop Yunel Escobar, Class A outfielder Gorkys Hernandez, one of two starting pitchers -- Charlie Morton or Jo-Jo Reyes -- and either reliever Blaine Boyer or one of two minor-league left-handers (one of which is believed to be Jeff Locke).

In addition to Escobar and Hernandez, it is believed that the Padres, if the deal is completed, will opt for Morton, a 25-year-old right-hander who was 4-8 with a 6.15 ERA in 16 appearances -- 15 starts -- in 2008. They also are said to be leaning toward Boyer, a 27-year-old right-hander who was one of manager Bobby Cox's chief workhorses last season, finishing tied for ninth in the NL with 76 appearances.

Though Padres scouts like Locke, he's only 21 and not yet ready for the majors. The Padres' bullpen was deeply disappointing last season and, now, with iconic closer Trevor Hoffman apparently having pitched his last game for the Padres, is close to being in complete disarray.

The Braves have been pressuring the Padres for an answer by Friday, when the free agent market opens, because they need at least two starters -- and they want to know whether Peavy will be a Brave before they dive in. They are expected to pursue A.J. Burnett, Ryan Dempster and others -- and sign maybe one if they acquire Peavy, and two if they don't.

However, now the spotlight is close to swinging to Peavy, whose preference is said to be in Chicago with the Cubs. However, internally, the Padres view the Cubs' offer -- believed to include outfielder Felix Pie, infielder Ronny Cedeno and left-hander Sean Marshall, as being nowhere close to that of the Braves.

Whether Peavy agrees to accept a deal to Atlanta could become contingent on any number of things, including Atlanta guaranteeing Peavy's $22 million option for 2013, a full-no trade clause or travel considerations for Peavy's wife and children (the Peavys intend to keep their full-time home in San Diego, according to Axelrod).

Peavy, 27, won the NL Cy Young award following the 2007 season in a unanimous vote. Though a strained elbow shelved him for part of 2008, he still compiled a 2.85 ERA in 27 starts, finishing 10-11 for a Padres club that lost 99 games.

Considered one of the game's few true aces when he's healthy, Peavy has compiled ERAs of 2.88 or lower in four of the past five seasons.

In Atlanta, he would help accomplish Braves GM Frank Wren's goal of getting back to what the club was known for in the 1990s, a strong starting rotation.

Morton was part of that rotation for part of '08, and the Braves had envisioned him remaining there. Atlanta's third-round pick in the 2002 draft, Morton is a "stuff" guy -- his fastball reaches into the upper-90s -- but he also throws a big curve and, over the past two years, has made significant strides in his command.

Atlanta's willingness to include Escobar in the package has been a surprise to some, because the Braves traded a solid shortstop prospect, Elvis Andrus, in the package to Texas for Mark Teixeira in 2007. At that time, Escobar was viewed as Atlanta's shortstop of the future.

Though Escobar hit .288 with a .366 on-base percentage, 10 homers and 60 RBI, he committed 16 errors for the Braves in what many considered a disappointing '08 season. Cox is said to have become disenchanted with him, which no doubt played a part in the fact that the Braves would part with Escobar.


Posted on: November 11, 2008 6:33 pm

Mistreating Trevor Hoffman in San Diego

You can argue the merits of San Diego's apparent decision to bid farewell to a closer in the twilight of his career.

You cannot argue that icon Trevor Hoffman's request to meet with owner John Moores was anything but reasonable and should have been granted, and that the Padres are utterly ham-handed in showing the closer the door.

But then, that's the way this amateur-hour mess of a club is doing business these days as an unaccountable, absentee owner hides in the shadows while his messy divorce proceeds.

If the best Moores can do for a franchise icon is remain invisible behind club president Sandy Alderson as a one-year, $4 million contract is yanked from the table and Hoffman's request to meet with the owner is rebuffed, then he should sell the franchise sooner rather than later.

Or turn it over to his wife, Becky, in the divorce settlement.

Hoffman, baseball's all-time saves leader, earned $7 million last year while saving 30 games for a club that won only 63.

Following that 99-loss debacle in '08, the Padres won't contend in '09, either. So it's a reasonable question to ask what the point is in worrying about who's pitching the ninth innings, anyway. Let alone whether Hoffman, at 41, will be worth the multi-millions he'd be paid.

While the one-year, $4-million, incentive-based contract that was pulled wasn't exactly a slap in the face to Hoffman, the salary cut was a clear indication that the Padres weren't exactly viewing him as a must-have commodity.

From a purely baseball perspective, hey, that's show biz.

The problem here, however, is that Hoffman is a civic icon who, along with Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, is one of the two most important Padres in club history.

Beyond that, as the club's marketing department has leaned on him time and time again through both good seasons and bad, Hoffman has never grumbled. He's done whatever's been asked to help promote the club and baseball in San Diego -- hell, in China, too, for that matter. He was one of the most public faces last spring in the Padres-Dodgers promotional trip to that country. He's never been anything less than friendly, courteous, cooperative and stand-up.

Now, should that earn him a lifetime scholarship in Padre-ville?

No. In the end, with all players, you remove emotion and make baseball decisions. And if this is Hoffman's time to go, so be it. Nobody can play forever, no matter if he's still a very young 41. Lord knows, there was enough chirping on postgame radio shows every time he blew a save. Not everybody who follows the Padres will be sorry to see him go.

However. There is a way to do things, and this wasn't it.

It is not an owner's obligation to meet with every player who requests an audience.

But given what Hoffman has meant over the past 16 seasons in San Diego, the least Moores could do was haul his butt out of hiding to meet with Hoffman.

Especially since Hoffman's ascent after San Diego acquired him from Cincinnati during the Padres' Fire Sale of 1993 coincided with the return of the Padres after Moores rescued from the inept clutches of former owner Tom Werner.

If anybody knows Hoffman's importance, it should be Moores.

Now, maybe the conversation doesn't go how Hoffman wants it to go. Maybe the owner's message is simply, "Trevor, look. We're reducing payroll, and our baseball people say that your game has slipped too much and we're just not going to re-sign you. Thanks for everything, and you'll always have a place in this organization."

Maybe that's the message, and if it is, that's fine. Nobody plays forever. Some players, sad as it is, must be told when to go.

But this isn't the way to do it.

And the fact that the club has chosen this path says far more about the deterioration of Moores as an owner and as a human being than it does about the deterioration of Hoffman's skills.

Posted on: November 10, 2008 5:42 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2008 5:43 pm

Trade could knock Peavy out of WBC

If the San Diego Padres trade ace right-hander Jake Peavy, as they are expected to do as early as this week, it could mean the end of the ace's availability for Team USA in next spring's World Baseball Classic.

Peavy has filed the necessary paperwork to play, according to Barry Axelrod, his agent. But Axelrod, who opposed the right-hander's participation in the '06 WBC for protective reasons, indicated that he again will try to talk Peavy out of playing -- especially if he's traded. Atlanta and the Chicago Cubs remain the front-runners to acquire him, according to multiple sources.

"If I'm his new team, I'd say, 'You know, we kind of need you in camp with us,'" Axelrod said.

Peavy pitched for Team USA in 2006 and absolutely loved the whole thing -- the competition, the patriotism, the camaraderie with some of the game's best players. He developed good friendships with Roger Clemens and Derek Jeter, among others.

But he also battled elbow tendinitis as the '06 regular season wore on and told me at the time that he thought the extra WBC work was the major contributing factor. His 4.09 ERA that summer was the second-worst of his career over six full major-league seasons.

"I was strongly opposed to him participating last time for that very reason," Axelrod said. "I thought it might make for a very long season. ... Jake had a tough time physically that season, as did others."

If he participates, Peavy would have to report to spring training on Feb. 14 -- a week before other, non-WBC-playing players -- and then he would report to the WBC training camp on March 1 and not return to his team -- the Padres or someone else -- until March 24 at the earlier.

"That's 3 1/2 weeks away from camp, and then 10 days to get ready for opening day," Axelrod said. "I think it's a rougher schedule than last time."

So far, Peavy has been intent on making himself available for the WBC.

"When I tried to make the case (against), he wouldn't let me get the sentence out of my mouth," Axelrod said. "He said it was one of his great life experiences, having 'USA' across his chest. I told him, 'I know what you think, but if you ask me. ...'"

Axelrod, though, said he and Peavy last spoke about the WBC before the trade talks started that appear to have him earmarked somewhere other than San Diego for 2009 and that they have not revisited the subject since.

"That's Jake's call," Axelrod said. "I don't know where his head would be on that. He may say, 'Hey, if I'm with a new team, I owe it to them to be there.' Or he may say, 'It's a twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I want to be involved.'"

Likes: It's on to the third round of the Michigan high school playoffs for the Monroe St. Mary Catholic Central football team, who will host Manchester on Friday evening at Navarre Field. The Falcons knocked off Madison Heights Bishop Foley in a 34-29 thriller on Friday and were rewarded with a third home playoff game. Congratulations to Coach Jack Giarmo and the boys, and go get 'em Friday. ... Just finished a fabulous book, The Nightingale's Song, by Robert Timberg. The author traces the lives of five Naval Academy grads -- John McCain, Oliver North, Robert McFarlane, James Webb and John Poindexter -- weaving the threads together through the Navy years, Vietnam and on through the Reagan Administration, studying how their background at the Academy helped set the stage for their lives. Fabulous work by Timberg -- whether you're a Republican or a Democrat.

Dislikes: More federal money for insurance giant AIG even after their executives held a retreat here after they received a $70 million bailout from the government in September. The excess makes you sick. They should deduct the cost of the resort retreat from the bailout, at the very least.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Come gather 'round people
"Wherever you roam
"And admit that the waters
"Around you have grown
"And accept it that soon
"You'll be drenched to the bone.
"If your time to you
"Is worth savin'
"Then you better start swimmin'
"Or you'll sink like a stone
"For the times they are a-changin'"

-- Bob Dylan, The Times They Are A-Changin'

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com