By the time a trade involving
With Peavy's rejection of a surprise trade to the struggling White Sox, frustration on the part of both teams seemed palpable late Thursday. Peavy, meanwhile, kept his remarks positive, saying in explanation for his decision not to go to Chicago's South Side, "Right now, San Diego is the place for us.''
That sounds great. But word is the Padres aren't too thrilled that they are back to square one after six months of wheeling and dealing.
But while that's understandable, generally speaking it's tough to have much sympathy for San Diego in this case. The Padres are the ones who signed off on the deal to pay Peavy $60 million more through 2012 and give him a no-trade clause not all that long before deciding that they did indeed want to trade him. For that (and many other things, including having a stadium built with taxpayer dollars only to try to tear down his team), the outgoing owner,
So where do the principal players go from here?
Peavy's "strong preference'' (agent
Peavy is under no obligation to tell the Padres where he would go (or really, to go anywhere, either). The one quibble I would have with Peavy came this winter, when he suggested that he might consider the Braves, then started to backtrack when he wondered whether Atlanta was about to give the Padres too much in a deal for him, thus weakening their team. The man is from Alabama, the Braves were on his list (yes, it was an unofficial list, but still, it's his hometown team) and frankly he should have been flattered that Atlanta wanted him that badly.
But if Peavy himself has such reservations about the American League, perhaps he's right that he'd be better off staying in PETCO Park, where he has a career ERA of 2.71 (vs. 3.71 away from the pitcher-friendly yard). While White Sox people were said to be practically unanimous in support of taking this chance, and it's true that they currently look lost with a rotation of
Of course, historically Williams and the White Sox have been a smashing success defying critics and doing the opposite of what's expected. They do have $40 million coming off the books next year with
The Padres wanted to avoid what GM
The Padres are believed to be getting annoyed at how little room Peavy's giving them to deal, and if Hoffman's right that they are playing hardball, that feeling of frustration would explain it. But they have no one to blame but themselves. It was their idea to alter courses so quickly.
The Cubs and Brewers now look like the Padres' two best hopes. Axelrod has said Peavy loves "Middle America,'' so presumably the White Sox' issue was not their location. The two other teams on Lake Michigan are aggressive traders (though maybe not as aggressive as the White Sox), and Peavy would almost surely accept the Cubs and possibly the Brewers -- though in this trading game, there are obviously no guarantees.
The Tigers have to be baseball's most unpredictable team. Last year everyone loved them, and they bombed, finishing last. This year, nobody expected anything, and they are leading the AL Central.
What's more, their supposedly iffy pitching has often been dominating, with a 3.99 ERA (third best in the AL). They came into the season relying on an underachieving ace (
The resurgence of Verlander (4-2, 3.99) is vital. He had gained a rep for pigheadedness in his clubhouse but seems to have rediscovered his third pitch while curtailing his propensity to overthrow. Now that he's at his best he's living at 93-95 mph while saving the hard stuff for crucial times. Asked whether Verlander has matured, GM
Porcello (4-3, 3.86), whom no less than
Willis couldn't throw strikes at all last year, then began this one on the disabled list with an anxiety disorder, and he has spent more time lately with doctors than pitching coaches. "They told me he'd have results,'' Dombrowski said. "He's not over the hump yet, though.''
It's still a nice story in a city that needs more of them.
• There's no indication that Indians star
• As to whether
• Among the teams that say they cannot add payroll ... the Indians and Yankees (yes, that's what they say -- well, at least until they need someone).
• One AL executive said he believes that
• Got to give it up for the Astros'
• The Mets have to be the most optimistic crew ever.
• Glad to see Mets manager
• Sure, the Yankees are beating up on teams they usually beat (Twins and Orioles), but they are also playing beautiful fundamental baseball. Manager
• The Rangers would listen to offers for
• Texas hitting coach
• Bad news for the rest of the American League. Boston's
• The greening of shortstop. Both Cardinals shortstops are named
• Nice touch for the Padres to acquire
• Condolences to
• I have located