So, a funny thing happened on the way to the blockbuster trade: the blockbusteree had to think about it for a while ...
- ESPN's Peter Gammons reported that according to sources, the White Sox would send the Padres four players to complete a deal for Peavy. Sources told Gammons that White Sox shortstop prospect Gordon Beckham is not among the players in the deal. Beckham was the eighth overall pick in last year's amateur draft.
ESPNChicago.com's Bruce Levine reported that White Sox players in the deal include left-handed pitcher Clayton Richard and left-hander Aaron Poreda, a former No. 1 draft pick.
But none of that matters if Peavy, who has a full no-trade clause and can veto the deal, doesn't agree.
"If I had to make a bet on it, I would guess that Jake would say he's not ready to take that step today," [Barry] Axelrod said. "But he wouldn't necessarily preclude it at any time in the future.
"We aren't hiding anything from anybody. Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League. He has a comfort zone there, he's been successful, and he's won a Cy Young Award. I don't know that on May 21, that preference has eroded very much. From our point of view we may say, 'Let's give (the Padres) more time and see if a National League team might step up over the next six weeks.'
"If this were any one of three or four other teams and they called about him, Jake would jump at it. He would be willing. They know who they are. They know that certain places are more enticing to him."
Peavy called White Sox right-hander Scott Linebrink last night for his opinion about going to Chicago and got strong feedback, Gammons reported.
"Jake called me [Wednesday] afternoon to ask about what it's like here in Chicago," said Linebrink, according to ESPNChicago.com's Levine. "I think he's ready to move on, but I can't tell you for sure he's going to accept the deal. Losing 100 games, like they did last year, wears on a player.
"Right now, I'd say it's 50-50 as to whether he accepts it or not. He'll get with his family today and make a decision."
I suppose this is the point at which I'm supposed to throw up my hands, snort, and say (or write) something like, "What's this world coming to, when a baseball player and his agent -- his agent -- are holding up a deal that could determine the fates of two organizations worth hundreds of millions of dollars apiece?"
As a fan, I'd like to see general managers be unfettered, simply because the sport is more interesting when players are moving around; when the game is dynamic. Yes, it's nice for the players to have some control over where they live and who they play for and all that, but as a fan I really don't care much about the players' general welfare. Particularly the superstars like Peavy, who are wealthy almost beyond my imagination and can essentially spend their way through any inconveniences.
No, my sympathies lie mostly with the general managers, who are under immense amounts of pressure to put together winning clubs. I want Kevin Towers to have few boundaries on his ability to rebuild his moribund franchise; I want Ken Williams to be free to make the moves he wants to make to get his White Sox into the thick of the pennant race. I want to see trades, and the more the better.
A pox upon Peavy and Alexrod, then?
Of course not. Peavy is merely exercising a reasonable right to which he's contractually due. If you're going to be upset with anyone, be upset with Towers and the Padres for granting Peavy that right. Perhaps they couldn't have signed him to his current contract without that clause. But there often is a cost to such things. The trick is knowing what that cost might be, years before it comes due.