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01/28/09 6:03 PM EST
Cubs won't rule out adding more arms
Even with Heilman, more pitching may be in North Siders' future
By Barry M. Bloom / MLB.com
The trade that brought right-hander Aaron Heilman to the Cubs from the Mariners does not necessarily preclude them from continuing to bolster their pitching staff before the start of the season, the team's No. 2 baseball official said on Wednesday. Whether that might mean an eventual re-opening of discussions with the Padres to obtain Jake Peavy, the 2007 National League Cy Young Award winner, is still very much up to question. "You certainly can't close your eyes and you can never say, 'Oh, we're done,'" said assistant general manager Randy Bush, speaking on a Wednesday conference call in place of GM Jim Hendry, who was traveling. "We're not going to do that now. You can't do that. What I'm saying is that we feel great about our club right now. We're ready to go to Spring Training with this club. "But you certainly have to be aware of how slow-moving the market's been in a lot of situations. There are a lot of quality players and pitchers out there. You have to keep your eyes and ears open and continue to work hard right up to Opening Day. And if there's a way to make the club better, we're going to do it." Asked about reviving talks to obtain Peavy, in particular, Bush added: "We've had no talks about Jake Peavy since they were well-documented during the Winter Meetings. So there's nothing to add about that. No talks." Even so, word circulated earlier this week that Chicago's attempt to acquire Peavy could be revived once the reported $900 million sale of the Cubs to investment banker Tom Ricketts is closed. Ricketts currently has an exclusive window of opportunity to purchase the team from the Tribune Co., which has filed for bankruptcy reorganization. Garrett Olson, the starting pitcher the Cubs just obtained from the Orioles in a trade for outfielder Felix Pie, was swapped to the Mariners on Wednesday along with infielder Ronny Cedeno. Padres GM Kevin Towers likes both players, who would've been included in a four-way deal between the Cubs, Padres, Phillies and Orioles that fizzled at the end of the Winter Meetings. But the Padres also like starter Sean Marshall, reliever Kevin Hart and Minor League third baseman Josh Vitters, the third pick overall by the Cubs in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Those three are still members of the Cubs organization. So a two-way deal between the two teams at this point might be a distinct possibility. Heilman could be used by the Cubs as either their fifth starter or in a middle-inning relief role, Bush said. Peavy's agent, Barry Axelrod, said on Tuesday night that he has heard some of the rumblings about the Cubs ownership change and wouldn't be surprised if talks between the Cubs and Padres involving his client would eventually be revived. "I suppose that could be the case," Axelrod said. "Ricketts is a billionaire coming in with unlimited funds and has had a life-long quest to see the Cubs win. He might say, 'Spend whatever it takes.'" But Axelrod qualified that by saying he's told the Padres to keep him out of the loop until anything solid materializes. Peavy owns a blanket no-trade clause in his $63 million guaranteed deal that lasts through the 2012 season and would have to be consulted before the Padres make any move. "I know these [players] make a lot of money, but it gets a little bit emotional to consistently ride that roller coaster," Axelrod said. "So we told [the Padres] after the Winter Meetings that if something is imminent and heats up to the point that you need our involvement, then get in touch. Otherwise, just do what you have to do. To be honest, I haven't heard anything since the Winter Meetings." Towers said on Monday that his last contact with Hendry had been about a week ago, but that there had been no substantive talks since the Winter Meetings. He also said that it would be less likely to move Peavy as "we get closer to Spring Training." "We've got to get ready for our season," he said. "I wouldn't say it couldn't happen, but it's going to be more difficult than it was at the Winter Meetings."
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.