Jake Peavy Is (Kinda, Sorta) on the Block

Jake Peavy

The Padres were awful last season. Fortunately they play in the NL West where "awful" is just a few degrees away from "good enough," but only if they're able to add more talent to their roster. Considering the team is rumored to be up for sale, we can rule out the Padres being big spenders in the free agent market this winter. So how will the team figure out a way to improve? How about by trading their best pitcher?

Okay, that idea doesn't make sense at first glance, but bear with me. Jake Peavy is considered one of the top aces in the game, and unlike when the Twins dealt Johan Santana, he's also locked up for at least four more years. Granted, he's not cheap (he'll average $14.75 million a season through 2012, with a $22 million club option for 2013), but he's also not overpriced given his performance. All things considered, the Padres should bring in quite the haul should they decide move him.

Padres GM Kevin Towers has already admitted that he's willing to listen to offers ... but there's one tiny little hang-up: Peavy has a full no-trade clause, and has indicated through his agent, Barry Axelrod, that he has no interest in moving to the American League. From Tom Krasovic of the San Diego Union-Tribune:

"Jake has a strong preference to stay in the National League," Axelrod said. "It is hypothetical, but Jake, by any measure, has had a great deal of success in the National League. He has a comfort level with knowing how to approach hitters here."

Peavy is also committed to going to a winning team, though that's hardly a road block considering only a team with hopes of contending would invest in such a trade. Axelrod listed several cities that Peavy might approve: Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and St. Louis.

Were Peavy closer free agency, perhaps he'd approach the situation with an open mind and give AL teams a chance, but considering he's already paid, there's really no reason why he shouldn't stick to his guns. If he likes padding his stats by not having to face the designated hitter four times a game and prefers to stay near the west coast to be near his family, well, he earned that right.

But if there's an agreeable suitor, the Padres need to pull the trigger. This team isn't built to crack .500 in 2009, let alone contend, so whether Peavy starts every fifth game or Mr. Replacement Player gets the ball, it won't matter in the long run. Instead of suffering through yet another pointless season, the Padres should move him for a package of players that can someday lead this team back to relevancy.

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