LAS VEGAS - There is little to no chance a Cubs-Padres deal involving pitcher Jake Peavy will be announced at these winter meetings.
However, that doesn't mean a deal can't or won't get done. And Tuesday did provide a few interesting twists to the story.
Padres general manager Kevin Towers told San Diego media members that he felt better about his club Tuesday than he did Monday. The hang-up, from Towers' point of view, is that the teams are still "haggling" over what players the Padres would receive in return, either from the Cubs or a combination of the Cubs and a mysterious third team. (Reports out of San Diego indicate the Cubs want the Padres to take pitcher Jason Marquis in the deal.)
As far as Cubs GM Jim Hendry went, he offered little, as is his custom when it comes to talking about trades.
"I just try to stay focused on what we're doing," Hendry said. "We had a lot of ideas and potential plans when we got here. You just can't get caught up in everybody's rumors or what people say. Just try to focus on what we want to do.
"We feel confident that before we get to camp that we're going to have a better baseball team than we had before last season ended. That's our goal. We're not worried about time frames or what somebody said we might be doing."
In other words, there is no Thursday deadline to get a deal done or Peavy opens the 2009 season in San Diego. Towers said Monday he hoped additional progress was made in the talks or else he'd put a halt to the proceedings. However, "progress" can mean almost anything, and if Padres ownership tells Towers he must move Peavy, then Towers is in no position to be setting deadlines.
One interesting Cubs name came up related to these talks: second baseman-outfielder Mark DeRosa. Cubs people say they are not "shopping" the versatile and productive DeRosa, but it's possible he could be moved in the right deal.
The Cubs want to get more left-handed hitters in their lineup, and they are not going to trade right-handed hitters Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Geovany Soto and Ryan Theriot. That leaves DeRosa, who has one year and $5.5 million left on his contract.
The Phillies were cited in one report as DeRosa's possible final landing spot. If that were to happen - and it's not close to happening - the Cubs could give the left-handed hitting Mike Fontenot playing time at second base. On top of that, the Cubs have held talks with the agents for several left-handed hitting outfielders. Hendry met with the representatives for switch-hitting outfielder Milton Bradley Monday, and he may be the most cost-effective option out there.
Also related to the Peavy trade talks, Cubs chairman Crane Kenney assured Chicago media members that the Cubs have the green light from prospective new owners to make such a deal under parameters of budgets Kenney and Hendry have constructed for the next several years.
"We would love the luxury of talking to a group, a new owner, or if we need to, go to all the prospective owners if something really sort of larger than just the five years comes about," Kenney said. "But we think within the budget we have, we've got enough room to do most of the things we need to do."
Peavy is owed $59 million through the 2012 season. There is a team option for $22 million, or a $4 million buyout, for 2013.