Peavy to Cubs?

The latest rumor has Jake Peavy going to the Cubs in a three-team deal that would also include the Baltimore Orioles.

According to Jeff Zrebiec and Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles would send young pitcher Garrett Olson to San Diego and receive Cubs centerfielder Felix Pie as part of the deal. Strange, since the O’s already seem set for many years with Nick Markakis patrolling center, and they have Adam Jones, a natural centerfielder, playing in right. If nothing else, that outfield would have tremendous range.

How would such a trade affect the Mets? Let’s look at the Cubs potential starting rotation with Peavy:

1. Carlos Zambrano
2. Jake Peavy
3. Rich Harden
4. Ryan Dempster
5. Ted Lilly

Dempster and Lilly both won 17 games last year, and they’d be at the BACK END. Not to mention the surplus arms of Rich Hill, Jason Marquis, and Sean Marshall, who might or might not be part of the trade.

The Cubs 1-2-3 punch of Zambrano, Peavy, and Harden would be the strongest in all of MLB, and would stand up to best of all-time if Harden remained healthy. The NL Central would be locked up, and it would be next to impossible to beat them in a short series (i.e., playoffs).

So why does this matter to the Mets? Because the Mets have Johan Santana, Mike Pelfrey, and then three question marks comprising their starting rotation. We hope John Maine will return healthy, and we hope he’ll get back to the track that made him a 15-game winner in 2007. However, there’s no guarantee Maine will be healthy, and he took a step back in 2008 — which may or may not have had to do with the injury.

Enough beating around the bush — here’s my point. If the Cubs have three lights-out aces at the top of their rotation, that makes 3 lights-out aces the “standard requirement” for a postseason team. Which means if the Mets want to play “meaningful games deep into October”, they better re-think their position on C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and maybe Ben Sheets. We saw what the Astros did to playoff teams with a top three of Roger Clemens, Roy Oswalt, and Andy Pettitte — if the Cubs can somehow land Peavy, they’d similarly rip through the competition like a chainsaw through warm butter.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude November 30, 2008 at 9:39 pm
    I had this similar thought in the comments section of a previous article, Joe. CC becomes the hot commodity if the Cubs land Peavy, ever increasing his market value. Can you say $200 million contract? You can if you have the Angels, Mets, and Yankees all bidding for you. Even if the Mets show CC the money, it does not make them a lock to sign him – nor for Burnett, who apparently doesn’t think fondly of playing for the Mets. Do the Mets somehow sweep in on the Peavy sweepstakes? Tough to imagine what would have to be given up (I’m thinking Pelfrey, Church, and FMart would be the ticket), so probably acquiring Peavy defeats the purpose of trying to improve the team. Since the Braves are the only other team that seems hot on the trail for Peavy other than Cubs, it puts us Met fans in an odd position of hoping Atlanta lands the ace over the Cubbies since it seems Peavy would put Chicago over the top, while the Braves would still be in need of a few more pieces other than Peavy to be considered a serious threat.

    Man, it’s not even December and I’m already bummed out about the 2009 season. Thanks Joe!

  2. joe November 30, 2008 at 11:29 pm
    I was thinking what you’re thinking — the irony of rooting for the Braves to land Peavy. If it’s true that the Braves will have to part with Yunel Escobar and/or Charlie Morton to get Peavy, then all the better.

    If the Mets are able to make a trade for Peavy, I would guess they would not part with Pelfrey — who to me, at this point, has just as much upside as Peavy. They might be able to pull off another Santana-type trade — where they’re the last guy hanging around at the prom, waiting patiently for a dance with the prom queen. Or something like that.

    Reality: Mets won’t bid for Sabathia, and won’t get Peavy. But if the Cubs do land Peavy, the Mets should consider someone like Sheets.

    BTW from what I’ve heard, it’s the Mets who are not so hot on Burnett — not necessarily the other way around (though perhaps it’s a mutual feeling).

  3. isuzudude December 3, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Well, how do you like that?

    I think this trade means one of two things. 1) Either the Braves have conceded on trying to acquire Peavy, and pulled the trigger on plan B to get Vazquez, or 2) the Braves are making a serious effort at upgrading their pitching and will add both Vazquez and Peavy to their 2009 squad. After all, if the ESPN report is correct and the players headed to Chicago are Jojo Reyes and Brent Lillibridge, the Braves still possess Tommy Hanson, Yunel Escobar, and Kelly Johnson, the three players rumored to be coveted by the Padres most. I highly doubt the Braves want to deplete their system from so many young players all at once – especially considering their history – but it is a possibility that Peavy, Vazquez, and Jurrjens head the Atlanta rotation with Smoltz waiting on the back burner. Either way, I think the trade is a steal for the Bravos and I think Javy Vazquez still has quite a few good innings left in him. Wiuld the equivalent of this deal been Niese and Argenis Reyes?

  4. joe December 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm
    Agreed that the Braves likely are out of the bidding for Peavy now … although they may go after AJ Burnett.

    The package sent by the Braves is nowhere near Niese / Argenis Reyes. From what I understand, Jo-Jo Reyes is not part of the deal. This is what AP is reporting:

    “… power-hitting minor league catcher Tyler Flowers and shortstop Brent Lillibridge, among the organization’s top stolen-base threats. The Braves also give up minor league third baseman Jon Gilmore and left-hander Santos Rodriguez.”

    So, it would be more like Dan Murphy, Nick Evans or Mike Carp, Josh Thole (or Francisco Pena), and someone like Brant Rustich. But even that isn’t a great comparison, because the Mets simply don’t have comparable position players in their system. For example, Thole is a nice prospect but right now not near where Flowers is — Flowers might be playing in MLB in ’09. Lillibridge was the Braves #6 overall prospect before having a rough ’08 … he could turn out to be a bust, but some people still think he can turn into a Jeff Blauser type. Jon Gilmore is a young, power-hitting third baseman … maybe he compares to Shawn Bowman?

  5. Micalpalyn December 3, 2008 at 1:12 pm
    So what did you say Vaz would cost us?
  6. joe December 3, 2008 at 1:35 pm
    Did I ever guess what Vazquez would cost straight up? My suggestions were always Vazquez + another MLBer (Swisher, Konerko), mainly because the Mets don’t have much minor league depth to deal from — especially if they consider Niese and Parnell “untouchables”.

    While they COULD have put together a somewhat similar package — the Murphy / Thole / Bowman / Rustich one is as close as I can think of — the Mets probably feel that they can’t afford to deal away that much of their paltry system right now.

  7. Micalpalyn December 3, 2008 at 2:06 pm
    no I am not aiming at you. But looking at the trades made very few have the orgs top prospects anymore. iOW bobby Jenks should be affordable, J-dye could be had. It has been stated that clubs are CUTTING costs.

    The Rocks have stated that Fuentes will NOT be pursued but they offered him arbitration? That’s messed up I think the teams need to have contract offers out to the FA BEFORE the compensation is alloted. In the case of Fuentes who was clearly not wanted by the Rox, I think they should be forced to put their mouth or money on the line…..either you want the player or you dont if you dont cut him lose without the taxation on the next team of draft picks.

    Vazquez: Ozzie clearly disparaged him and Williams just got a quick cost cutting package back…Flowers is a 22 yr old catcher with power in A ball……Frank Pena is a 19yr old catcher in low A ball. …comparable…I am not sure. Carp is a 21 yr old power hitting 3rd/1st baseman hitting for high avg in AA and set for AAA or the ML next yr. Nick Evans and Murph already cracked ML ball and did quite well. My point is they could bring a quality ML player in return.

    Personally I think we SHOULD be going aftewr Casey Blake as LF/1st base insurance. You know i’d rather have Burnett than Ollie, but there are several Class B names out there that wont cost a pick, while Ollie WILL net a 2 draft pick return, in other words we wont LOSE picks…and if they were so worried about it why not ensure a pick is secured in return for Luis Ayala?

    I think there are other players like Vaz who could be netted for similar packages.

  8. joe December 3, 2008 at 2:46 pm
    Evans AND Murphy AND another player will get a quality MLB player in return. I’m not sure Mets fans want to see those guys leave, unless it’s for someone major.

    Jenks is definitely available, but it’s going to cost F-Mart. Dye won’t play in NYC. There are players out there available for what the Mets have, but can the Mets afford to deal away the few chips in their system? We’re looking at an organization with very, very few players ready to come up and make a contribution in ’09.

    I’m surprised the Mets didn’t offer arbitration to Ayala. I thought for sure the Mets wanted to bring him back, though maybe they have something in place where Ayala will re-sign at their price, not an arbiter’s.