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What's Keeping Peavy From Chicago? Chicago

There's always a back story to every surprising decision, and the one that runs underneath San Diego ace Jake Peavy's rejection of a trade to the White Sox is even more unseemly than most. That's because part of the reason Peavy isn't headed to White Sox is because he thought he was headed to the Cubs just months ago.

Whether he wants to admit it or not, at the winter meetings Peavy had accepted that he didn't have a future in San Diego. One night before the reported on-again, off-again deal that would send him to the Cubs was to go down, Peavy was seen in a Las Vegas nightclub singing "Go Cubs Go," leaving little doubt that he was ready to jump ship to the NL Central.

So, if Peavy was willing to pitch in the NL Central in Chicago, why wouldn't he be willing to pitch in the AL Central in Chicago? It's possible that Peavy's stated reason -- that he feels San Diego is the best place for him at the moment -- is his driving motivation. Yet, while that's a possibility, it's probably not the most likely one.

Rather, Peavy's biggest push to stick with the Padres, the only organization he's ever played for, is probably his earnest desire to remain in the National League. Peavy's no idiot: He has a three-year, $52 million contract on the books but, at only 27 (he'll be 28 in less than two weeks), he'll be due for another big pay day by age 32 at the latest. If he keeps up his current pace and strikeout ratio -- not to mention his arm health -- there's little doubt that he'd be in line for another huge 2-4 year deal. He's a power pitcher with a knack for winning big games, and there's always a need for that.

If he stays in San Diego, Peavy knows he'll have a shot to keep down his ERA. He pitches in the NL West (baseball's weakest offense division), in one of baseball's most defensive parks. That's a recipe for continued success.

What would make Peavy accept a trade? The chance to win something now, in a place where he'll leave a legacy and get enough offensive backing to rack up wins. If you win enough games, the ERA and strikeouts aren't so important. Even Peavy knows that. Where's the perfect place for such a move? In Chicago ... with the Cubs.

So, is Peavy about to hold down the fort in San Diego for the rest of the season? It's possible, but there's an equally high probability that some NL team will make a play for him near the deadline and Peavy might accept. After all, when you read exactly what Peavy said, he doesn't rule out a move eventually, he just rules one out for now.

"As of right now, this is the best place for us to be. We made that decision for the time being."

For the time being, he's staying put, but that still doesn't mean he won't end up in Chicago, it just might not be the team that made a move for him on Wednesday.

By Cameron Smith  |  May 22, 2009; 1:02 PM ET
Categories:  Padres , White Sox  
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Comments

The Padres are 3 games off the wild-card pace. Do you really think they're going to throw in the towel on this season, now -- having won 10 in a row? The Padres don't have to worry about signing Strasburg -- they can throw that money at Peavy...a proven commodity.

Posted by: fischy | May 26, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

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