Source: Deal for Peavy not imminent

LAS VEGAS -- Jake Peavy may still wind up as a Chicago Cub. But if that trade goes down, it won't happen during the winter meetings, according to a baseball source with knowledge of those discussions.

The Cubs and Padres "still have a lot of work to do" before a deal as big, and potentially complicated, as this one could be completed, the source said. And it's impossible for them to complete all that work before the meetings end Thursday.

In fact, the source said, the only thing the two teams have completely agreed upon is that they will "definitely have a feel for [whether this trade is doable] by Thursday."

But one thing that isn't certain, despite reports to the contrary, is that the Peavy trade will involve a third team, or even a fourth. The two sides "don't necessarily need a third party to make this deal," the source said.

The hang-ups before this trade could be completed are numerous. Most significantly, the Cubs would need ownership approval before adding a player who is guaranteed $63 million over the next four years, with a 2013 option that could bring the total value to $81 million over five years. And that approval would take time, given the team's uncertain ownership issues.

Beyond that, the Cubs undoubtedly need to move at least one significant contract, possibly more, to make room for both Peavy and a left-handed-hitting outfielder. The Cubs have interest in a half-dozen outfielders who meet that description, with free agents Raul Ibanez and Bobby Abreu seemingly at the top of that list.

So the makeup of this trade could depend on whether they can find a taker for pitcher Jason Marquis, on how much money they pay that outfielder and whether a third team is needed to take on an additional contract (a la Mark DeRosa).

Finally, given the money the Cubs would be investing in Peavy, they would almost certainly require Peavy to take a physical. And that couldn't be completed before Thursday, either.

"So can I tell you this will or won't happen? Absolutely not," the source said. "But there's not going to be an announcement while we're all here. I'm sure of that."

The Cubs and Padres are scheduled to meet again Wednesday, the source said.

Earlier Tuesday, a Cubs source vehemently denied reports that a trade for Peavy was imminent, telling ESPN.com Tuesday that the club is not "remotely close" to a deal.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday night that the Cubs were very close to a deal, according to a source close to GM Jim Hendry.

The Cubs have also pursued other, less-expensive starting pitching options, including free agent Randy Johnson, who is looking for only a one-year deal.

Padres GM Kevin Towers told ESPN.com Monday that his team needs to leave the winter meetings Thursday with a clear sense of whether there's a deal to be made for Peavy. If not, Towers said, the team needs to announce to its fans that Peavy is staying and begin trying to fill its needs in other ways.

Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.