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.