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Tag:Charlie Morton
Posted on: November 14, 2008 5:31 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2008 6:56 pm
 

Braves pull out of Peavy talks

The Atlanta Braves have pulled out of the Jake Peavy trade talks and will move ahead with other plans general manager Frank Wren told CBSSports.com on Friday.

"We notified the Padres yesterday that based on our last offer not being accepted, we were out of it," Wren said.

The Braves were set to send shortstop Yunel Escobar, pitcher Charlie Morton, reliever Blaine Boyer and Class A outfielder Gorkys Hernandez to the Padres for Peavy, who would have had to waive his no-trade clause.

The Braves felt they were moving toward a deal, according to sources, and on Wednesday believed they were going to obtain the pitcher they had been attempting to acquire since October.

But then something changed, and in Wren's conversations with the Padres it became apparent that a deal was not as close the Braves were thinking. The Atlanta GM declined comment on what explanation the Padres gave him for not accepting the deal.

"It just didn't work," Wren said.

The Braves became perplexed over the past six weeks by the Padres' handling of the negotiations, sources with knowledge of the talks say, and still don't know for sure why San Diego sent such conflicting signals to them this week.

The Braves believe that they were assuming significant risk in the deal not only because of the package of players they were willing to deal, but also because of Peavy's history of injuries.

"We were never that comfortable with the players we were talking about because we're a club that likes to build from within," Wren said. "And as the deal evolved, it was going to impact too many of those players."

Despite periodic trepidation as negotiatons were moving forward, though, the Braves ultimately were willing to part with some prospects they viewed as key -- except for prospect Tommy Hanson.

Even at that, they still feel that their offer for Peavy surpassed any others the Padres have received.

So now the Braves will take their search for two starting pitchers elsewhere. Wren said that they have a couple of trade possibilities working, plus they will dive into the free agent market.

Aside from CC Sabathia, who they view as too expensive, the Braves figure to be involved in anybody and everybody on the free agent market. They've already believed to have touched base with A.J. Burnett, and figure to do the same with Derek Lowe and Ryan Dempster, among others.

"Jake is a player who would have fit into our club very well," Wren said. "But it was a very rich deal, and at the end of the day we just didn't feel like it made sense for our organization to keep talking."

Of course, the offseason is filled with posturing as clubs seek to make deals -- both in the trade and free-agent markets -- and everybody has an agenda and wants their angle out there.

Could this be a case of the Braves doing the same? If the Padres were to call back before Atlanta finishes its pitching plans for the winter, could something still get done?

"We're trying to improve our club," Wren said. "I'm never going to close the door to anything. We have no active discussions going on. We're actively pursuing other things.

"Would I take a call? Yes. But that's not our focus."

The Chicago Cubs, also searching for pitching, are believed to still be interested. However, Towers told the San Diego Union-Tribune on Friday that the club may turn to the Los Angeles Angels and New York Yankees.

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.

 


 
 
 
 
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