David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote about the possibility of the Braves pursuing Padres ace Jake Peavy this winter in a blog post yesterday. He notes that Peavy, an Alabama native, might be particularly amenable to waiving his no-trade clause to play for Atlanta.
Personally I do not see Peavy’s no-trade clause as an obstacle for most clubs. In the majority of cases, the player accepts compensation and waives the no-trade power.
Peavy is a 27 year-old relatively healthy ace who is under contract for four years at a below-market price. I would look to the recent trades of Erik Bedard (two years), Dan Haren (three years), and C.C. Sabathia (three months) as precedents. All of these trades were built around a top-25 prospect (Adam Jones, Carlos Gonzalez, and Matt LaPorta). Given that information, I would be quite surprised to see the Braves acquire Peavy without surrending Jason Heyward or Tommy Hanson. If you’re Kevin Towers, why wouldn’t you insist on that caliber of player? Towers can easily wait until July or the ’09 winter meetings.
I will grant that Johan Santana (one year) and Rich Harden (one year and two months) were acquired for less than most people expected. But with Santana, the requirement of a $137.5MM extension limited the field. And, it may be true that Jon Lester and Phil Hughes were offered at various points. With Harden, you had the ever-present injury risk and a quality player in Chad Gaudin joining the Cubs.
In addition to the Braves, the Red Sox, Rockies, Rays, and Rangers would have the prospects to make a Peavy trade. The Yankees will probably be in the mix, though it’s hard to see a deal without Hughes. The White Sox, Tigers, Angels, Mets, Phillies, Brewers, Astros, and Dodgers are other teams that will be searching for pitching this winter. Many top prospects and young players are deemed "untouchable," but an ace like Peavy may cause teams to reconsider.