Cubs jump into Peavy trade talks, eye three-team deal

The Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres continue to make progress in trade negotiations around pitcher Jake Peavy, but at the same time, San Diego is talking with the Chicago Cubs about the All-Star -- with the Padres and Chicago engaging a third team as part of their proposals.

Some sources believe that a trade of Peavy, while not imminent, is inevitable, and could occur prior to Thanksgiving. The Padres are in the midst of a significant payroll cut: If San Diego -- which withdrew a contract offer to closer Trevor Hoffman on Monday night -- eventually trades both Peavy and Brian Giles, as expected, then the team's 2009 payroll will be about half of what it was in 2008.

The Braves and Padres have settled on two pieces of the package that Atlanta would send to San Diego -- shortstop Yunel Escobar and outfield prospect Gorkys Hernandez. The Braves likely would include one of two young pitchers, either Charlie Morton or Jo-Jo Reyes. The two sides are at odds over the other pieces in the deal; the Padres are known to have interest in young pitcher Jeffrey Locke.

The Cubs and Padres have talked about a deal built around Josh Vitters, the Cubs' top pick from 2007. But unlike the Braves, Chicago is not steeped in pitching, and so the Padres and Cubs are in the process of drawing in a third team to their talks, and that third team would be the side that would flip the pitching necessary to San Diego, in order to make the deal work for the Padres.

Peavy, 27, won the 2007 Cy Young Award, and went 10-11 with a 2.85 ERA in 2008. He is signed through 2013, and currently, he has a full no-trade clause and the right to veto any proposal. The Braves and Cubs are among the teams that he would consider, as he has indicated to the Padres.

During the process of considering possible deals for Peavy, the Padres have talked with numerous teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Houston Astros and New York Yankees.

Buster Olney is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.