Peavy's 3-year, $52M deal largest in Padres history
SAN DIEGO -- When Jake Peavy said it wasn't about the money, he really meant it.
After all, the Cy Young Award winner could have played out his contract with the San Diego Padres and gotten big money elsewhere as a free agent.
As it is, the $52 million, three-year extension Peavy signed on Wednesday is the biggest deal in Padres history. It's much more than the good ol' boy from Alabama probably ever imagined he'd make.
"I really have tried my best to stay away from the money issue because a lot of people in Semmes, Ala., can't count that high," Peavy cracked at a news conference. "That's not saying that in an arrogant way at all. I mean, when people in Semmes see the kind of money we're talking about, they don't understand. I don't understand, to be honest with you. It's kind of crazy. I know how fortunate and blessed I am to be able to have the talent to play this game."
The deal was finalized just less than a month after Peavy was the unanimous winner of the NL Cy Young Award.
Giving Peavy the extension now was a no-brainer for the Padres, who fell one victory short of reaching the playoffs for the third straight year. With the Padres on a push to shore up their farm system, it made a lot of sense to lock up a guy who has blossomed after being a 15th-round pick in the June 1999 draft.
"The way we looked at it is, although we may be surprised with a few of the kids in our system that are coming, I don't know if we've earmarked anybody that we think can be the next Jake Peavy, although we've got some fine young arms coming," general manager Kevin Towers said.
The GM knew it would be more expensive to shop for an ace two years from now, and that had Peavy gotten any closer to free agency, he might have been tempted to see what his market value was.
"With Chris Young, we think we've got a pretty good 1-2 punch for the next four to five years, if they stay healthy," Towers said.
Peavy will make $6.5 million in 2008 and $11 million in 2009.
The new money kicks in in 2010, when he'll make $15 million. He'll earn $16 million in 2011 and $17 million in 2012. The club holds a $22 million option for 2013, or a $4 million buyout.
If he remains with the Padres through 2013, he'll make $87.5 million.
The guaranteed money in Peavy's extension will average $17.3 million per season. By comparison, Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs averages $18.3 million and Barry Zito of the San Francisco Giants averages $18 million.
Previously, the biggest deal in franchise history was the $34 million, four-year contract slugger Phil Nevin agreed to in November 2001.
Whether he's taking the so-called San Diego discount is up for debate.
Peavy doesn't care.
"This contract is not about money to me," he said. "I think it's a fair deal for everybody. I didn't want to do the other players around the league any kind of injustice."
Peavy said he wanted to stay with the Padres because of the "unbelievable people in this organization. When you talk to Greg Maddux, after 20 years in baseball he said this is the most fun and the best people he's been around in the game. It doesn't take much to know that this is the place you want to be."
With the oldest of his two boys set to enter first grade next fall, Peavy plans to move his family from Alabama to San Diego.
"I've got to relocate because I want to be a daddy," he said. "I don't want to call and ask how the school day was, I want to tuck my boys in and ask them how their school day was. When you've got a 6-year-old in school, that's just all there is to it."
Peavy will have a full no-trade clause from 2008-10. In 2011, he can veto trades to 14 teams. In 2012, he can decline a trade to eight teams.
Peavy is 76-51 with a 3.31 ERA in his career. He led the majors with a 2.27 ERA in 2004 and topped the NL with 216 strikeouts in 2005.
"I'm excited where I'm at, but I'm not happy where I'm at," he said. "I want to win a world championship, bottom line. I don't even care if I win another Cy Young Award. I want to be a world champion."
Although they won the NL West in 2005 and 2006, the Padres haven't won a postseason series since 1998, the year before Peavy was drafted.
Peavy said he still has somewhat of an identity crisis back home in Alabama.
"I go back and I still have people in Mobile go, 'Who do you play for again?' And I go, 'The Padres.' They say, 'They still have a team?' And I go, 'Yeah, man, we have uniforms and everything.'
"I'm living proof that dreams can come true," he said.
Peavy led the NL in wins, ERA and strikeouts this season -- pitching's version of a Triple Crown. He went 19-6 while topping the majors in ERA (2.54) and strikeouts (240).
While the Padres continue to shop for outfielders, they've agreed to terms with free-agent second baseman Tadahito Iguchi, pending a physical scheduled for Monday.
Iguchi hit .304 in Philadelphia after being acquired from the Chicago White Sox at the trade deadline to fill in for injured All-Star Chase Utley. Iguchi will replace Marcus Giles, who slumped badly and eventually lost his starting job during his one season in San Diego.
Iguchi had some offers to play third base, according to his agent, Rocky Hall.
"His No. 1 desire was to play in San Diego and at second base," Hall said.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press