The two teams had a deal in place whereby the White Sox would have sent left-handed pitching prospects Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard plus two more minor leaguers to San Diego for Peavy, but the trade needed Peavy's approval since he has full no-trade clause. The Padres' star seemed to be seriously weighing whether to accept the trade and move to Chicago, which was willing to assume the approximately $60 million remaining on his contract.
Earlier Thursday, in a bad sign, the White Sox were asked by the Padres, "Do you have any idea on how to persuade him?''
It appears the idea of changing leagues didn't appeal to Peavy, whose original and very unofficial list of teams he would consider included five NL teams but no AL teams (the Astros, Braves, Brewers, Cubs and Cardinals were on that original list).
In a phone interview earlier this afternoon, Peavy's agent Barry Axelrod said, "I still think he has a strong preference for the National League. I don't think that's changed as a preference but it's not a preclusion.''
The Cubs and Brewers would appear to remain as possible contenders to acquire Peavy now since it appears he'd like to remain in the National League while playing in the West or Midwest. Axelrod said in a recent interview with SI that he likes "Middle America.'' The Cubs and Brewers, much like the White Sox, are aggressive in trades talks and have shown a willingness to spend.
The change in ballparks could also have been a consideration in this case, as the Padres' PETCO Park is a pitcher friendly while the White Sox's U.S. Cellular Field regularly yields among the most home runs in baseball. There's an indication another AL team was waved off early this winter, partly in consideration for the league and ballpark, though it isn't known what team that was.
Peavy agreed to a long-term deal with the Padres that is pay him $11 million this year and about $60 million through 2012, with a $22 million option for 2013. Sources indicate the White Sox were unwilling to pick up that option, though there's no indication that specific request was ever made.
"There are innumerable factors that come into play,'' Axelrod said.
Axelrod said he believed Peavy would want his no-trade provision, which is a blanket no-trade through 2010, extended through 2012. But it isn't known whether that became an issue here.
The Padres have been trying for months to trade Peavy to get his big contract off the books and get on with their rebuilding process. They had intense talks with the Braves and Cubs in the winter before hurdles appeared.
San Diego spent weeks on these deals that never materialized, and Towers called the public aspect of the talks a "public fiasco'' in an interview with SI last weekend.
Towers vowed that he intended to keep talks quiet this time and make sure nothing hit the papers until they had a deal, and that was the case here, where word of a possible deal with the White Sox was kept quiet until late Wednesday night. Word of Peavy's rejection was first reported by the