Nice article about Jake Peavy’s financial planning by Bill Center in Sunday’s U-T. While I doubt the writer’s intention was to have the Padres ace dig himself a hole from which he’d need so large a ladder to climb out of with, Peavy sure helped out with the shovel.

Big mistake, Jake.

When a man says “I am not looking to break the bank” and “I’m not saying I want a huge payday,” you can bet your bottom dollar that that’s exactly what’s on his mind. And you can double down on the chance that Peavy’s agent will have the Brink’s truck rolled up to the Petco Park driveway long before Jake’s contract runs out after the 2009 season.

Peavy also says he’s “concerned about the team making a conscious effort to win a world championship.” Well, publicly negotiating for yourself this far in advance and right in the middle of a pennant race isn’t exactly making a conscious effort to win a championship. This is neither the time nor the place for Peavy to go pitchman on club management, and those are not the types of pitches he should be concentrating on.

Peavy says he’s “not optimistic” about remaining a Padre beyond the length of his current deal, and perhaps not even through his current deal. He’s interested in what other club’s pitchers are earning, and thinking aloud about what a shame it would be for him to have to leave San Diego, but if that’s what’s got to happen, so be it.

My advice to Mr. Peavy is to go out and play baseball. Do your talking on the diamond. If you must think aloud and in the press, do so during the winter. Win ballgames now. Lead your team to the Promised Land that is October baseball, and make it impossible for management to pass up a contract extension with its conquering hero.

No one cares about Carlos Zambrano’s big contract right about now. Mark Buerhle’s and Barry Zito’s and Roy Oswalt’s pacts aren’t of much interest either, except to them, and it’s no coincidence that none of the latter three men have the chance to perform in the postseason that you’re looking at now.

You’re idolized in this town, Jake. Don’t blow it by voluntarily looking like yet another selfish player. There’s more than enough of that to go around. If a writer asks you a question about money in the future, don’t take the bait. Just smile, and politely change the subject to championship baseball. There’s no better way to market yourself anyway.

— HOWARD COLE

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