There have been a tremendous number of digital bytes spilled on this page about Jake Peavy. As of this morning, he's still a San Diego Padre, and I happen to agree today with the Sun-Times' Chris DeLuca, who says Peavy, though a great pitcher, is a luxury item the Cubs couldn't afford. Herewith the biggest issue:
[Kevin] Towers kept putting left-hander Sean Marshall on the table. Never did the Cubs give a nod of approval to Marshall being part of the package. Then the Cubs' brain trust considered all of the money they would be taking on in a Peavy deal. Financially, they could make the right-hander fit in 2009. Even 2011 and beyond. But 2010 was a real sticking point.
The Cubs' payroll will be supersized in 2010 without Peavy. Adding him creates a lot of stress. It was the kind of stress the Cubs would endure if this were a true need -- say for a Brian Roberts-style leadoff hitter. But this was a luxury item.
I could even see it as a sticking point in 2009, if you want to have any room for that LH-hitting outfielder that Lou's obsessing about (and thank heavens it's NOT going to be Raul Ibanez, who signed a three-year, $30 million deal with the Phillies. Would YOU want to be on the hook for $10 million to Ibanez when he's 40? I wouldn't), or for a midseason acquisition.
Who could still be Peavy. Or maybe Towers, who has made this proposed deal in the media perhaps more than any GM has made any past deal that I've ever heard of, will move on to another team (the Angels are a rumored player).
In any case, the Cubs won 97 games last year -- despite missing Carlos Zambrano for a few starts, losing their closer for a month, having Alfonso Soriano miss more than 40 games and having Kosuke Fukudome disappear in the second half. I'd be perfectly happy if Fukudome became the player he was in Japan (or a reasonable facsimile) and have Felix Pie platoon with Reed Johnson in CF.
If Lou's insistent on a lefthanded hitting outfielder, go out and make a smaller deal for Jeremy Hermida or Jason Kubel, both of whom will cost prospects and other players (but not as many as Peavy would have), but less dollars. Why spend huge dollars on Milton Bradley and get the huge headaches that come with him? His 2008 numbers are an outlier to most of his career and were put up mostly as a DH in a launching pad (he hit 16 HR at home and only 6 on the road last year).
We are also told this morning that the chairman of the Illinois Finance Authority still wants to make a deal to buy Wrigley Field, despite all the controversy swirling after the revelations regarding the shakedown Gov. Blagojevich was trying to make with Tribune Co. Further, William Brandt, the IFA chairman, says it won't involve any tax dollars (claiming it would all be funded by a bond sale) -- I'm skeptical -- and further:
William Brandt Jr. said he's asked for three conditions from Tribune Co., owner of Wrigley and the Chicago Cubs. One is a Tribune guarantee for the bonds, and Brandt said that may be impossible now that the media company is in bankruptcy.
The other conditions, he said, would be limits on ticket price increases and an agreement on who would own the park once the bonds were paid off in perhaps 30 years. Brandt said a government agency, perhaps the Chicago Park District, could be the right owner.
I cannot put into words how bad an idea this is. For an example of the Chicago Park District owning a stadium and the shenanigans that go on there, just look approximately eight miles south of Wrigley Field to Soldier Field.