The plan would be for the Phillies to send J.A. Happ and possibly another prospect to the Cubs for infielder Mark DeRosa. The Cubs would then send those players along with a prospect or two of their own to San Diego for Jake Peavy.
The addition of DeRosa isn't a bad move, but giving up Happ and possibly another player is a hefty price. DeRosa - who holds a career .282 average against the Phillies - can play all four infield positions, plus left and right field, although his defense isn't stellar at any of those positions. He carries a career average of .279 and hit .285 last season with the Cubs with a career high 21 home runs and 87 RBI. The theory is that DeRosa would play either at second or third to start the season, covering holes created by off-season surgeries for Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz and would then play at various positions when both have returned.
DeRosa is signed through 2009 and is guaranteed $5.5 million this season.
A deal directly with San Diego to obtain Peavy would make much more sense for the Phillies, since it would give them the starting pitcher that they're looking to obtain. With a fairly well stocked minor league system, the Phillies could likely equal the package that the Cubs are putting together, especially since it would include a couple of their prospects anyway. Adding Peavy to the starting rotation would be a big addition and would be worth the loss of prospects, while the addition of DeRosa wouldn't necessarily fill any severe holes.
Peavy, who has a career mark of 86-62 with a 3.25 ERA over seven seasons with the Padres, is set to make $8 million in 2009 and is signed through 2012 for a minimum $60 million commitment. The deal would jump to being worth $78 million if his option for 2012 is picked up at a cool $22 million. One potential way of offsetting the cost of Peavy would be for the Padres to take Adam Eaton, who pitched for them from 2000 through 2005, and is owed $8.5 million in 2009 as part of the deal. That would release the Padres from the long-term financial commitment that Peavy carries, while still giving the Phillies some relief from the financial hit of Peavy.
While DeRosa is a good player, he doesn't truly give the Phillies what they need - starting pitching or a left-fielder - and the deal would actually take one starting pitcher out of the picture for the Phillies in 2009. The only way this deal would make sense is if the Phillies were to sign Jamie Moyer prior to the deal, which would already guarantee two left-handers in the starting rotation and potentially make Happ obsolete for the rotation.
Happ, the top rated left-handed pitcher in the Phillies organization, pitched well in stints with the big league club in 2008. In eight games - four starts - he posted a 3.69 ERA, including making two impressive starts against Atlanta in September.
Meanwhile, talks with Moyer are on hold and both sides are exploring other options, with the Phillies contacting pitchers Derek Lowe and Randy Wolf and Moyer's agent calling other teams about their interest in the left-hander. There have been no new discussions with Pat Burrell, who may likely have to wait until top players like Manny Ramirez and Mark Teixeira sign before the market turns to him.
The Phillies are still talking with the agent for Raul Ibanez about playing left field for the club in 2009, but have also contacted both Rocco Baldelli and Juan Rivera about a deal if they fall short on Ibanez.