The Milwaukee Brewers energizing their team and their fans by trading for a stud pitcher? They did it with CC Sabathia last year, and they could do it with Jake Peavy this year.
We're told the Brewers are exploring whether to bid for Peavy, and they could emerge as the most realistic trade partner for the San Diego Padres.
After the Padres gave Peavy a no-trade clause, they asked him for a list of teams to which he might prefer to be traded. He shrugged and offered the Dodgers, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals.
The Padres whiffed in winter talks with the Braves and Cubs; a prolonged franchise sale could hinder another Cubs bid. The Astros and Cardinals would be reluctant to guarantee $70 million, which would keep Peavy under contract through 2013. The Padres would rather stop selling fish tacos than trade Peavy to the Dodgers.
Peavy vetoed a deal with the Chicago White Sox last Thursday, and his agent reminded everyone the pitcher wants to stay in the National League. Peavy could pitch for a contender in Milwaukee, with Trevor Hoffman saving his victories once again.
The Brewers offered Sabathia $100 million last winter, so they could tap that special reserve for Peavy. They signed a fat new cable deal last month. And, with attendance down in most markets amid the recession, the Brewers' attendance is up, way up, by an average of 2,000 people per game.
so we love you
After the first three homestands of his Mets career, Francisco Rodriguez has discovered the difference between the fans in Anaheim and New York.
"In Anaheim, they don't boo you at all," said Rodriguez, who set the major league record with 62 saves for the Angels last season. "In New York, they boo you.
"Some players don't like that. I take it in a positive way. They're not seeing what they expected. That's fine."
Rodriguez has not blown a save in New York, in 12 chances. His earned-run average is 0.87. What would he know about booing there?
"Sooner or later," he said, smiling.
Barry Zito faces Felix Hernandez today, and the onetime king of free-agent busts has a better ERA than King Felix.
In the first two years of his seven-year, $126-million contract with the San Francisco Giants, Zito started 65 games and won 21, with an ERA of 4.83 and one walk every two innings.
He appears to be channeling his inner Jamie Moyer this season, getting the hang of pitching with diminished velocity. Zito pitched his first complete game in six years last Tuesday, and his ERA dropped to 3.62.
Hernandez, the Seattle Mariners' fireballer, has a 4.13 ERA.
In a pineapple
under the sea
It is not unusual for minor league teams to play a morning game, in front of a crowd largely made up of kids on a field trip. The Angels' triple-A Salt Lake affiliate played before 10,000 elementary school students last Tuesday, with the first pitch at 10:30 a.m.
"The fact that the kids get to skip school and watch baseball, it's good," reliever Kevin Jepsen told the Salt Lake Tribune, "as long as they don't play that SpongeBob SquarePants song every 10 minutes."
-- Bill Shaikin