Padres narrow field for Jake Peavy trade talks

San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers talks about the possibilities of trading star pitcher Jake Peavy and shortstop Khalil Greene, at a meeting of baseball GMs Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Dana Point, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
San Diego Padres general manager Kevin Towers talks about the possibilities of trading star pitcher Jake Peavy and shortstop Khalil Greene, at a meeting of baseball GMs Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, in Dana Point, Calif. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi) (Lenny Ignelzi - AP)
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The Associated Press
Tuesday, November 4, 2008; 11:58 PM

DANA POINT, Calif. -- The San Diego Padres have narrowed the field of suitors for ace pitcher Jake Peavy, focusing on three National League teams.

Peavy has $63 million in guaranteed money remaining on his deal, which runs through 2012 and contains a club option for 2013. General manager Kevin Towers said that based on conversations with Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, he is dealing with five AL teams and two NL clubs, but only a trio of National League squads is being given intense consideration.

"Jake and Barry have told me there's really kind of three that they want us to focus on. Those are the three we've been focusing on," Towers said Tuesday at the GM meetings. "I haven't had a lot of dialogue with the other four. Those clubs are still, in his mind, iffy."

Towers wants two major leaguers plus prospects in return. He doesn't expect a trade to happen quickly but anticipates dealing the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner.

"When you start heading down this path, it's probably more likely to happen than not happen. I've got that feel," Towers said.

Axelrod said the Padres approached him about a possible trade because of the team's financial situation and need to rebuild. Peavy has a no-trade clause, and Axelrod said he gave San Diego a list of five potential candidates the pitcher would approve a deal to.

"He doesn't want to leave here. It's his home," Axelrod said.

Peavy's initial list included Atlanta, the Chicago Cubs, Houston, the Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis. Towers wouldn't identify the three main teams he is dealing with. He intends to have discussions with one team this week. Talks with the other two "were down the road," he said.

Peavy, a 27-year-old right-hander, was 10-11 with a 2.85 ERA in 27 starts last season as the Padres finished last in the NL West at 63-99, their worst record in 15 years.

"He was frustrated with our season last year," Towers said. "I don't think 12 months ago he would have even thought that we'd even be at this point discussing this. I mean, we were coming off four winning seasons _ and almost three of the four playing in the postseason. Jake's all about winning, and he's a fierce competitor."

Peavy made $6.5 million last season and is due $11 million next year, $15 million in 2010, $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012. The contract includes a $22 million club option for 2013 with a $4 million buyout.

"He's not too expensive to keep," said Towers, whose opening-day payroll this year was $74 million. "It's just that last year, we lost 99 games with him. So if we're able to add multiple pieces here that we think are going to improve our club, we've got to look at it.

"We need to add quite a few pieces," the GM said. "I just don't think we can bring the same ballclub back that we had in 2008 and expect to be a lot better. I like the young players in our system. I saw a few of them in September, and I think they'll be better next year. But we need to make some trades and bring in some good players if we want to get better. I mean, 63 wins _ I'd like to think we're going to get better."

San Diego also is considering trading shortstop Khalil Greene, owed $6.5 million next year.

"If we end up moving Khalil, I see it in a separate deal," Towers said. "That's not to say it couldn't happen, but less likely."


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