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News » DeRosa deal could restart Peavy talks

DeRosa deal could restart Peavy talks

DeRosa deal could restart Peavy talks
After trading Mark DeRosa to the Cleveland Indians and signing free-agent infielder Aaron Miles in correlated moves Wednesday, the Cubs are poised to complete their priority offseason activity as early as next week.

That's when the trade of right-hander Jason Marquis to the Colorado Rockies for reliever Luis Vizcaino and the subsequent signing of free-agent outfielder Milton Bradley are expected to become official.

And when the dust settles on those moves, the Cubs will be in position to revisit the Jake Peavy trade talks with the San Diego Padres or even -- as the Baltimore Sun speculated -- the Brian Roberts talks with the Orioles that went nowhere a year ago.

The Cubs would operate from a position of strength in either potential negotiation, and the acquisition of three touted pitching prospects for DeRosa deepens the well of possible trading pieces.

Based on conversations with several sources, the flexibility to pursue another starting pitcher -- especially if it's Peavy -- likely hinges on the Cubs' ownership transition taking clearer shape in the coming weeks. A key timeframe might be the quarterly owners meetings Jan. 13-15 in Phoenix.

The Cubs and Padres haven't discussed a Peavy trade since the Cubs pulled out of negotiations more than two weeks ago at the winter meetings.

''We certainly wouldn't close the door on anything,'' general manager Jim Hendry said when asked about the desire to replace the starting pitcher he might lose in a trade. ''Once we add the outfielder we want to add, we'll take a good look where we're at. The pen is getting deeper and deeper. We'll see how we want to shape up the starting situation, whether we pursue somebody else or use somebody internally in that role.''

Left-hander Sean Marshall is the top in-house candidate to replace Marquis in the rotation, with young right-hander Jeff Samardzija next in line.

Although one team official said during the winter meetings that DeRosa would be traded only as part of an effort to acquire Peavy, the Cubs' plans evolved enough since then that they said the DeRosa trade was made independent of Peavy considerations.

Meanwhile, getting Bradley in the fold remains the top priority. The parameters of a multiyear deal are in place with the volatile, switch-hitting outfielder, who so far has agreed to await the Cubs' payroll-clearing moves before signing.

The Washington Nationals are making a serious push to swoop in on Bradley, according to an report. But the Cubs appear confident they'll land their main target of the offseason.

By moving Marquis and replacing DeRosa with Miles, the Cubs will free up $8.3 million in 2009 payroll.

DeRosa, 33, one of the Cubs' most popular, productive and versatile players the last two seasons, will make $5.5 million in 2009, the final year of a three-year deal. Miles, 32, who also is versatile enough to have played seven positions for the St. Louis Cardinals last season, will make $2.2 million in 2009 and $2.7 million in 2010 with his new deal.

The Cubs are expected to shed a net $5 million with the Marquis-Vizcaino deal, which moves the final year, at $9.875 million, on Marquis' three-year contract.

Among the pitchers the Cubs acquired from the Indians is right-hander Jeff Stevens, the closer

for Team USA at the Beijing Olympics. He goes on the 40-man roster and will be given a chance to make the 25-man roster in spring training.

The Cubs also acquired two Class A pitchers: hard-throwing right-hander Chris Archer and lefty John Gaub, the latter of whom is expected to start the season at Class AA Tennessee.

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Added: January 1, 2009

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