An article in today's Daily News reports that the Yankees may be putting together a trade package for Jake Peavy of the Padres. On the surface, it makes a lot of sense. He's got a Cy Young, will turn 28 next season and is signed for four more years.
That last point is likely of great interest to Brian Cashman. The GM opposed a deal for Johan Santana last year, in part, because he'd be surrendering a clutch of prospects and then forkfuls of cash to ink an extension. This time around it would only cost players, which leaves the money for CC Sabathia. Two aces for the same price as the one they passed on last year, who could pass up a chance at that?
There are reasons why the Yankees shouldn't dive headlong into this pool. The Padres are said to want two pitchers and an outfielder, at least, coming back to them for Peavy. That rules out Robinson Cano, making Phil Hughes and Austin Jackson the likeliest inclusions. Hughes has to help the team in 2009, so, if they don't believe he can make the rotation, there's no problem trading him. Jackson, though, looks like he could be the answer to the team's problems in center field.
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You have to be 100% dead-solid sure of what you're getting to make a move like that. Peavy may not represent that kind of certainty. He'd be leaving one of baseball's best pitcher's parks to move to the Yankees, something that would be a red flag on its own. His road ERA is a run higher on the road throughout his career, and he gave up 13 of his 17 homers away from San Diego in 2008.
The splits haven't always been that pronounced, but it's something worth considering before mortgaging the future. So are Peavy's recurrent elbow problems. Santana wasn't enough for the Yankees to toss their prospects away, and he was a much safer bet. Missing the playoffs once shouldn't cause that stark a change in priorities.