Why Jake Peavy could go to the White Sox

Updated: May 21, 2009, 12:53 PM ET
Jake Peavy met with San Diego manager Bud Black after the Padres' game Wednesday to discuss a possible deal with the White Sox, Tom Krasovic writes.

The conversations make a whole lot of sense. Kenny Williams, the general manager for the White Sox, is always aggressive, never afraid of a bold move, and it is evident from the early part of the season that Chicago needs help in its rotation.

Jose Contreras already has lost a spot in the rotation and has been sent to the minors, and Bartolo Colon represents a whole lot of risk. But of much greater concern are the early season struggles of Gavin Floyd, whose performance in 2008 was a pivotal factor in Chicago's division title. So far in 2009, Floyd is 2-4 with a 7.71 ERA, and he's allowed 60 hits and 23 walks in 44.1 innings -- frightening numbers. The White Sox currently rank 24th in starters' ERA, at 5.22, and while the American League Central doesn't seem to have a team capable of running away with a 100-victory season, the White Sox might struggle to contend with their current rotation.

Peavy, of course, has a no-trade clause and must consent to any trade, and among rival executives, there have been questions lately about whether the Padres would be able to get the kind of return they had hoped for when they first started talking about a possible deal in late September. The Padres talked extensively with the Braves this past fall, and after those discussions stalled, the Padres and Cubs moved so close to a deal that the two sides were working out the details of a possible salary deferral.

But ultimately, the Cubs' ownership situation, which remains in a state of flux, has been a roadblock to any Padres-Cubs deal.

Presumably, the Padres will want a high-end young position player to anchor the deal -- someone like young middle infielder Gordon Beckham, who nearly made the opening day roster as a rookie out of Georgia and is hitting .272 in Double-A.

How the money matters

Part of the reason the Padres might have a difficult time finding a suitable deal for Peavy -- and part of the reason all teams might have trouble moving veteran players -- is that clubs are taking a different view of salary this season. "There are only a very few teams that have indicated to me that they can take on any money," one GM said Wednesday. "Almost all of them are saying they can't take on any salary at all."

This dynamic will either kill or greatly alter a lot of possible trade talks. The Dodgers told teams last year that they couldn't take on salary, and in the end, they were able to make deals for Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez without absorbing salary -- but because the Red Sox and Indians kicked in money to pay for the salary, the Dodgers were required to give up a higher caliber of prospect.

For example: If and when Oakland dangles Matt Holliday on the open market -- and Holliday has been swinging better of late -- the Athletics might not have many matches with other teams, given that Holliday will make $6.5 million in the second half of this season. They might get a middling return at best. But if they kick in some money to help offset Holliday's salary, they will have a better chance of getting a B-plus type of return.

Given the current circumstances, it's worth reviewing the terms of Peavy's contract: He is earning $8 million this year and is guaranteed to make salaries of $15 million, $16 million and $17 million from 2010 through 2012. He has an option of $22 million for 2013, with a $4 million buyout. He has a full no-trade clause through the 2010 season and can block trades to 14 teams in 2011 and eight teams in 2012.

In order to approve the deal, Peavy might ask the White Sox or any other interested team to guarantee that $22 million option for 2013.

Elsewhere …

Mark Mulder is moving closer to throwing for scouts, according to his agent, Gregg Clifton. His focus in recent days has been on increasing the ability of his shoulder to roll as he releases the ball, and he has been throwing comfortably from 250 feet. When Mulder feels he is ready, he will set a time for an audition, and given the current need for pitching around the majors, scouts from a dozen teams probably will show up to see what they can see.

David Ortiz's homerless streak ended Wednesday, and as a result, it was a time of celebration, Adam Kilgore writes. It was a day of big relief for Big Papi, writes Dan Shaughnessy. Jacoby Ellsbury set a record, writes Michael Silverman.

One question hovers over Big Papi, fairly or unfairly, writes Bill Reynolds.

Other possible moves

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