Hahn's poker game with Peavy

Jake Peavy is scheduled to start Tuesday, which means he is scheduled to be traded before that.

That’s the thinking. That’s the rumor. That’s why Peavy packed several extra bags and cleaned out his locker as the White Sox left for a road trip that starts in Cleveland.

But not so fast.

The top starting pitcher on the trade market who has attracted the attention of the A’s, Red Sox, Braves, Cardinals, Orioles and Dodgers now apparently has some teams backing away because Sox general manager Rick Hahn reportedly is refusing to pick up the $24 million or so remaining on Peavy’s deal that runs through next year.

In some places, Peavy was viewed as a smarter trade move than Matt Garza because Peavy is signed through next year. Now Hahn apparently is telling teams that if you want that advantage, then you can pay for it yourself.

Compare that with the Cubs, who eat the salary of every big-name player they trade as if it has the hidden nutritional benefits of buffalo meat. Carlos Zambrano and Alfonso Soriano alone have cost Tom Ricketts about $36 million combined. That’s some lovely parting gift.

But there’s more to Hahn’s apparent stance than just acting like a small market team when it comes to money. He’s also asking for better prospects than the Cubs got for Garza, reports have it. Pretty strong stuff for a rookie GM.

Peavy’s health history appears to be an issue for the Orioles and owner Peter Angelos. Health and the $24 million together reportedly are issues for the Cardinals, Braves and Dodgers. That leaves the Red Sox and A’s.

It might appear that Hahn is playing a $24 million game of chicken with Peavy suitors as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches Wednesday, but there is one more element to this situation:

Hahn’s stance also tells teams, including his own, that he’s willing to bring back Peavy.

If reports are true, then Hahn is using all his leverage in this poker game, and good for him. Bluff or not, Hahn can act as if he’s fine with Peavy taking the second start behind Chris Sale next season. Hahn can convincingly bring back Peavy to a rotation that has been the best thing about the Sox this year.

In this death spiral of a season, the rotation and the bullpen are the only good things about the Sox.

No, wait, I forgot the grilled jumbo dogs and sausages with the onions and peppers at the concession stand behind the plate. That aroma is as hypnotically great as Alex Rios is aggravating.

Anyway, Hahn doesn’t have to deal Peavy, and if he ultimately doesn’t, he’s telling potential Sox ticket buyers that he’s not going scorched Sox the way Theo Epstein is blowing up the Cubs. I’m not sure what that’s worth. I also don’t know how many fewer fans the Sox could attract if they tried to rebuild and actually used the “R’’ word. Either way, it starts with pitching, and Sale and Peavy are quality starters.

But you’ll know Peavy will be traded if Dale Sveum says it’s “100 percent’’ that he’s pitching Tuesday night.

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
Related Content
  • 1 killed, 2 wounded in South Side shootings
    1 killed, 2 wounded in South Side shootings

    One man was killed, and two others were wounded in shootings Tuesday afternoon and evening in the city's Park Manor, Bronzeville and Morgan Park neighborhoods.

  • City lists 'problem landlords' on website
    City lists 'problem landlords' on website

    Chicago's Building Department published its first "problem landlords" list on its website Monday night in an attempt to crack down and publicly shame apartment building owners into providing tenants with basic services such as heat, hot water and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Chicago brothers who infiltrated cartel given 14 years in prison
    Chicago brothers who infiltrated cartel given 14 years in prison

    After more than six years in protective custody, the twin brothers from Chicago's West Side didn't look the part of hard-core drug traffickers when they walked into a public courtroom Tuesday for the first time since flipping on the notoriously violent Sinaloa cartel.

  • Emanuel, mayoral challengers face off for first time
    Emanuel, mayoral challengers face off for first time

    The first face-to-face meeting of the Chicago mayor’s race featured Rahm Emanuel offering a measured defense of his first term against a barrage of attacks from challengers who assailed his record on neighborhood development and crime and even his temperament.

  • 'Ghostbusters' reboot scares up cast: Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, Jones
    'Ghostbusters' reboot scares up cast: Wiig, McCarthy, McKinnon, Jones

    Director Paul Feig's "Ghostbusters" reboot has found its leading ladies. Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon are in talks to star in the Sony comedy about a quartet of paranormal exterminators, The Times has confirmed.

  • CTA rider robbed at Taser-point: police
    CTA rider robbed at Taser-point: police

    A 23-year-old CTA rider was threatened with a Taser and robbed of her cellphone Friday as she transferred from the Red Line to the Green Line at the Roosevelt "L" station, police said Tuesday.