As baseball's offseason slogs along at a molasses-like pace, the Jake Peavy-to-Cubs rumors just won't die. Whether it's actual reality or just pure conjecture at this point is hard to tell.
For now, Peavy and each front office remain pretty quiet. And all we're left doing is speculating.
Yet we do know a few things that still make the deal a logical one.
The Cubs recently traded for Garrett Olson, a pitcher the Cubs have never cared for in past trade talks. Why now? Well, you could speculate it's because the Padres pined for him during the Winter Meetings, when the Orioles were a possible third-team in the proposed deal.
The Cubs also stockpiled young arms when trading Mark DeRosa. While they didn't necessarily garner prospects who would be attractive to the Padres, they could be adding organizational depth in anticipation of parting with two or three of their own young pitchers.
With the departure of Jason Marquis, there seems to be one open rotation spot. Sean Marshall could certainly enter the season as the Cubs' fifth starter, but that would be in contradiction to the plans that general manager Jim Hendry, manager Lou Pinella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild have in place for protecting their rotation from injury. Marshall was already slated to garner upwards of 15 starts, as the Cubs planned on limiting Rich Harden to 25 starts, while also having Marshall occasionally fill in for Carlos Zambrano.
On the Padres' end, they figure to be about $5 million over the desired payroll for 2008. Peavy will make $11 million this season, so trading him for several younger players would likely reach the goal of $40 million for the 2008 season.
Adding Olson, Kevin Hart, and Rich Hill would give the Padres some cheap starting pitching options. Hill will be 29 this season, but he showed flashes of what he could do in 2007. He's since run out of favor with Pinella and he's now out of minor league options. Moving into a pitcher's park like Petco would really benefit Hill, so his inclusion would make sense, as long as the Padres are willing to take him.
Josh Vitters is a top-notch third-base prospect -- still a few years away from the bigs -- who is coveted by the Padres. Ronny Cedeno fills an immediate need at shortstop, unless you believe the aging, untalented David Eckstein is a starter. Even if you do, Cedeno plays a better short than Eckstein, who could easily slide over to second base. The Cubs recently reached terms with Cedeno, but he seems pretty redundant on their roster, considering they already have Mike Fontenot, Ryan Theriot, and Aaron Miles as middle infielders. He's also out of options.
Now, of course, there is one gigantic holdup. The absurdly long process of deciding upon new ownership in Chicago is still dragging along. Depending upon where you look, the process will end Wednesday, by the end of the week, by the end of the month, or by Opening Day. The Cubs cannot take on Peavy's salary until a new owner is named and approves the additional payroll.
And so the waiting continues.