Wow, this Brian Roberts, er, Jake Peavy thing is nuts, eh? No, the Cubs' pursuit of Padres pitcher Jake Peavy isn't going to turn out like the Brian Roberts saga has. In other words, Peavy will be traded soon. To whom, I don't know yet, but the Cubs are in hot pursuit. I've been told the ball is completely in the Padres' court. Cubs GM Jim Hendry is pretty good at getting the guy he wants once he sets his sights on him, and I give him at least a 50-50 shot at landing Peavy. Of course, Padres GM Kevin Towers must decide among offers from the Cubs, Braves and Dodgers.
One name that is definitely NOT on the table is Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija. Samardzija's name appeared in this column today:
There is one error in the column, and that's the one stating Samardzija has a "partial" no-trade clause in his contract. Fact is, Samardzija has a FULL no-trade in his deal. As one baseball guy put it to me, "Why would you give a guy with no big-league experience a partial no-trade? It doesn't make sense."
The speculation about Mike Fontenot is premature as well. The Cubs have not thrown his name out there. Remember, the Cubs need left-handed hitting, and Fontenot hits the ball from the left side of the plate. Of course, if the Padres want Fontenot badly enough, the Cubs will put him into the deal.
One of the arguments I've heard a lot over the years is that the Cubs don't have much of a farm system. Let's debate that on another day. But Hendry has used that farm system during his tenure to obtain the likes of Aramis Ramirez, Derrek Lee and Rich Harden. From what I've been told, Towers likes the young players the Cubs are offering.
Young major-league pitcher Sean Marshall is likely in the offer as is Felix Pie, who has bounced up and down. Believe it or not, the Cubs do have several other minor-leaguers they can offer. Among them:
--Catcher Welington Castillo, who played in the Futures Game this year. He hit .298 at Class AA Tennessee before getting a promotion to Class AAA Iowa. He was at big-league camp this past February, and if he's not traded, he'll be there again in '09.
--Third baseman Josh Vitters, the Cubs' No. 1 pick in 2007. He played at Boise (A) and Peoria (A) this year, hitting .328 with a .365 OBP at Boise.
--Pitcher Mitch Atkins, who was the organization's minor-league pitcher of the year. He'll be put on the 40-man roster this fall, meaning he'll be in Mesa with the big club if he's not traded.
--Outfielder Tyler Colvin, the Cubs' No. 1 pick in 2006. He hit .256 with only a .312 OBP at Tennessee this year and still needs to get his walks total up.
--Pitcher Donnie Veal, who still gets plenty of attention despite a 5-10 record and 4.52 ERA at Tennessee.
--Pitcher Jose Ceda, whom the Cubs stole from those Padres for Todd Walker a couple years back. Think Towers wouldn't mind getting him back?
I expect something to get done one way or another by the middle of next week. As the headline in today's Daily Herald said, stay tuned.