LAS VEGAS -- The continued effort between San Diego and the Cubs to figure out a way to send ace Jake Peavy to Chicago has resulted in their engaging the Philadelphia Phillies as a potential third team to help facilitate a deal, CBSSports.com has learned.
The potential trade remains complicated, and multiple sources cautioned that it might not get done with the Phillies. But those sources agreed Monday that the Padres and Cubs continue attempting to figure out a way to get it done, and the Padres' preference, as stated by general manager Kevin Towers earlier Monday, is to deal sooner rather than later.
Any Phillies' involvement could wind up sending left-hander J.A. Happ, 26, the Phillies' third-round pick in the 2004 draft, to San Diego. The Padres and Phillies also have discussed catcher Chris Coste, according to sources.
The Padres currently are thin behind the plate and, as of now, would open the season with Nick Hundley catching.
The Padres are not exactly enamored at the prospect of obtaining Marquis but, then again, it appears, neither is anybody else. Sources say one of the hurdles the Padres and Cubs are attempting to clear is that in order to add Peavy's contract -- he's due $63 million over the next four years -- Chicago would have to clear some salary.
Marquis is due $9.875 million in 2009, the final year of his contract. Chicago is shopping Marquis and hopes to trade him, sources said, to clear room for Peavy. If the Cubs cannot, the Padres likely would take him and pay between $4 and $5 million of his salary, with the Cubs taking care of the rest.
What the Cubs would like to do is find a club that would relieve them of all of Marquis' salary, but right now that appears to be the impossible dream.
It is not clear who would be going back to the Phillies -- and one source cautioned late Monday afternoon that Philadelphia's involvement in the talks well could be fleeting -- but they are known to have interest in Cubs infielder Mark De Rosa. The Phillies also are hoping to add an established veteran starting pitcher as protection in case negotiations with Jamie Moyer break down beyond repair.
The Padres and Cubs also have engaged Baltimore in the talks. In that scenario, sources say, the Cubs would send outfielder Felix Pie to the Orioles for pitcher Garrett Olson, then send Olson, VItters and a package of others that could include Hart and Cedeno to the Padres.