Daily Herald
Nearly a Cub, Peavy now has big Sox dreams
By Barry Rozner | Daily Herald Columnist
Published: 1/20/2010 7:17 PM

Now he can tell the real story.

Jake Peavy admitted Wednesday that he, as much as anyone, was pushing hard behind the scenes for a trade to the Cubs last year.

For more than eight months he dreamed of playing on the North Side of Chicago, and did all he could to help make it happen by driving the Padres toward a Cubs deal.

"The Cubs were great about it and (GM) Jim Hendry did all he could," Peavy said by phone from San Diego. "They just didn't have an owner. If they did, it would have happened. I have no doubt."

So why the Cubs?

"Because I wanted to win a World Series and they were in a great spot after two years in the playoffs," Peavy said. "The big thing for me is they had the rotation, and I believe that's the best way to get to the World Series.

"With (Carlos) Zambrano and (Ryan) Dempster and (Ted) Lilly and (Rich) Harden, I thought we could have the best rotation in baseball."

And when he first turned down the White Sox, it was mostly because he thought the Cubs still had time to make something happen.

Many weeks later, and only hours before the trade deadline, when GM Kenny Williams again asked Peavy to waive his no-trade, Peavy finally gave up on the Cubs' fouled-up ownership situation, looked at the roster on the South Side, and bolted San Diego.

"As a National League guy, little did I know what (John) Danks and (Gavin) Floyd were made of. They're bulldogs. And I knew all about Mark Buehrle already," Peavy said. "The way Freddy Garcia can throw, we have a great rotation that I think can be spectacular this year.

"(Dan) Hudson would be in a lot of rotations this year and he'll help us if anyone misses a turn.

"We should have, night in and night out, a chance to compete and win every game with this rotation. And I love our bullpen with Bobby Jenks, (Matt) Thornton, J.J. (Putz), (Scott) Linebrink and (Tony) Pena.

"With that staff, we should never have a serious losing streak."

You can still hear the National League side of Peavy when he talks about this year's Sox club.

"I don't care what league it is, you win with pitching and defense," Peavy said. "And I like where we are.

"This is the first time in nine years in my career that I'm going into a season believing my team can win the World Series. I truly believe that.

"That's exciting for someone like me. I mean, we had a few good teams in San Diego and there were times I thought maybe we could win our division if we had a great year, but with this team I believe we can win our division and win 11 more games. We can beat the Yankees and beat the Phillies or whoever it is.

"We have the talent and the makeup to do it."

Buehrle No. 1

Sox fans saw Peavy at only about 70 percent in September, and as good as he was, Chicagoans will be surprised this year by how truly dominant Peavy can be when he's healthy.

"I feel great," he said. "No issues with the ankle or anything."

Nevertheless, he says this is Mark Buehrle's rotation.

"I just look forward to being a part of it," Peavy said. "Mark is the guy and this is his staff. This has been his team for a long time and I just want to get on board.

"Do I expect to pitch like a No. 1? Always. But I'm looking forward to being part of a rotation that is good every night, and if I don't have it one night, I know Danks will have it the next night. We'll pick each other up."

The good guys

Defensemen Jamie Hunt and Grant Lewis will take part in the Wolves' "Read to Succeed" program Tuesday at the Indian Trails Public Library in Wheeling (6 p.m.) and the Crystal Lake Public Library (7 p.m.).

Throughout the season, nearly 100 libraries and 30,000 children will participate. For more info, visit chicagowolves.com

The quote

Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog: "The people in St. Louis give Mark McGwire a standing ovation the other day, and Jack Clark said every steroid user should be banned (from) baseball, and they booed him. Now, what the (heck) is the matter with society when that happens?"

Drop the gloves

E-mailer Bob K.: "If the Cubs want Big Z to find that fire in his belly, why not bring back Michael Barrett? Maybe if Zambrano starts punching out teammates again, he'll remember how to punch out opposing hitters."

For the record

Mount Prospect e-mailer Dan Marich: "You disrespect the Howard and Fine families by referring to the Bears' brain trust as the 'Three Stooges.' The difference is the Stooges were actually creative and talented."

Best headline

Sportspickle.com: "Urban Meyer shocked by length of Jim Calhoun's medical leave."

Trojan horse

Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi: "Can you believe Pete Carroll will make $7 million a year to coach the Seahawks? Geez, that's almost as much as Reggie Bush made at USC."

And finally -

NBC's Conan O'Brien: "Yesterday, there were rallies for me in cities across the country, including in Chicago. You can tell things are bad when Cubs fans feel sorry for you."

brozner@dailyherald.com