Last year about this time I fired off a lengthy rant (it’s what we do around here, you might have noticed the name of the blog up top there) about how Buster Olney frequently talks out of his ass. Another of his favorite pastimes is taking bits of information from various sources and combining them to come up with a completely illogical conclusion and pass it off as an eventual certainty. Needless to say – while we think his blog is typically an excellent read – Olney frequently draws our ire.
Thus we come to Wednesday when, while minding my own business, no less than five friends emailed me Olney’s latest blog entry entitled “Peavy expected to be trade target.” Oh Buster, haven’t we been through this already? Last year I got on Olney for suggesting that the Padres were considering sending Jake Peavy to the Yankees for a package of Phil Hughes and Melky Cabrera. His reasoning was that the Friars would never fork over the dough to keep the Cy Young winner, so they might as well send him to a big market team and reap the rewards in the process. At the time I knew Peavy wasn’t going anywhere, and a few months and a $52 million extension later, I was right, Buster was wrong. But now he’s back at it again.
Now Olney is saying that because Kyle Lohse is off the board and CC Sabathia and Derek Lowe will have big price tags, that many teams are going to target Peavy in the offseason. He then further states that with the Padres reducing their payroll, that Peavy’s contract will be top heavy and that the righthander has been frustrated by the team’s lack of competitiveness this year. If that’s not enough, he adds that General Manager Kevin Towers has stated that the Padres have no untouchable players and that certain executives think San Diego’s ace can be had for the right package of prospects. Therefore, we should all surmise that Peavy will certainly be gone soon.
OK, let me now break down the actual situation that Olney has created this Matrix-like alternative world out of.
-First of all, the type of “package” the Padres would take for Peavy would have to be something along the lines of Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Matt Garza and David Price for Peavy deal. Anything less than that and Towers and Sandy Alderson would be lynched by Padres fans. And I don’t mean there would be harsh articles written about them-lynched, I mean hot tar, feathers, and then hanging them from trees in Balboa Park-lynched.
-When Towers says no one is untouchable he doesn’t mean “Hey we just had a bad season, please come rape us of our best players, thereby setting the franchise back even further. You two, yeah, Cashman and Epstein, you get first crack!” No, what he means is that his team just lost 99 games, he wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t listen to every offer, thereby gauging the market. But rest assured, Peavy is going nowhere, especially not while Towers is in charge. Because one area the team doesn’t have to look for help is the frontline of the rotation. When Peavy and Chris Young are healthy they are as good a 1-2 punch as there is in the majors. Why would Towers want to set his team back by ridding it of a cornerstone?
-He claims Peavy was “vocal” about his frustration with the Padres. Peavy likes winning, we all like winning, but rest assured, he sees the Padres as his team (along with Trevor Hoffman), that’s why he signed up. His plea wasn’t for management to send him away, it was more for them to bring up or bring in talent. Shortly after signing his extension, Peavy did what few people thought he would ever do and moved his family out to San Diego from Alabama. His wife is said to love their new home and they just had their third child. Jake doesn’t want to go anywhere. That’s why he got a full no-trade clause in his contract. Further, he has also said he would only ever want to play in the National League (guess that eliminates that deal to the Rays) so that leaves the two biggest money teams (Red Sox and Yankees) out of it.
-He says teams think Peavy can be had for the right mix of prospects. Uh, yeah, that’s exactly what the Padres need. The farm system at the lower levels is loaded right now and they’ve just started to bring up the top guys brought in during the Alderson-era. Prospects are the last thing the team needs. Oh, and just to add to this one, teams thought they could get Peavy last year and all the Padres did was lock him up to a huge extension.
-He argues that the Padres are reducing payroll, so they’ll want to dump Peavy. The righty will make $8 million this year, for a bonafide No. 1 starter, one of the top arms in all of baseball, that’s pennies these days. Plus, several salaries will be off the books, namely Maddux’s $10 million. That’s half of what they need to cut right there (going from around $70 to somewhere around $50-55). It’s not as big a jump as you’d think for them to lower this year’s number.
Now look, I know Olney is just reporting what people are telling them, but without actually investigating the situation he’s just spounting bullshit. There is no way Peavy gets dealt this offseason unless something huge comes along. And if it does, Peavy would still have to accept the trade. There have been no indications that he wants to go elsewhere or that the Padres plan to have another down year next season during which they can just rebuild and not be dedicated to winning. They feel their top prospects – Chase Headley, Nick Hundley and Matt Antonelli – are major league-ready after seeing significant time this season, and will help, not hinder the team’s quest for wins.
Look, I’m not saying the Padres are gearing up for a World Series run. What I am saying is they can be competitive in the National League West if they make some smart offseason pickups and their young players build on this season.
So just so you know, you heard it here first, Buster Olney is a moron (a Vanderbilt-educated moron, but a moron nonetheless) and Jake Peavy isn’t going anywhere.