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Jake
Jake Peavy is owed $11 million for next season.
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LAS VEGAS -- The Jake Peavy-to-the-Cubs talk is back on again.

While the trade discussion was characterized in this space several hours ago as being "not dead, but on life support," the condition of the talks has clearly been upgraded by tonight.

If the Cubs do land Peavy, they've come from a long way back to get him.

The Cubs were originally seen as a secondary possibility, behind the Braves, as a player for Peavy. And Cubs manager Lou Pineilla certainly didn't create a positive impression about the likelihood of a trade when he said the re-signing of Ryan Dempster made them feel comfortable about their rotation. Piniella even said his feeling about their starting staff by saying they were "all set" there.

But perhaps Piniella wasn't completely in the loop on this one. The Cubs are clearly a team that doesn't quit when they want something of significant value.

The Cubs are believed to have received the go-ahead to slightly increase their payroll, from $130 million to about $140 million, which could provide just enough room to add another big player, provided they can trade off a high-salaried piece or two, perhaps starting with pitcher Jason Marquis.

It also appears that perhaps Padres general manager Kevin Towers envisions a way to do a deal now only with the Cubs. Previously, Towers had expressed the idea that he might need a third team to get involved, and at one point Baltimore was suggested.

Plus, one potential hurdle probably won't be a hurdle at all in the Cubs' case. Peavy is very likely not to invoke his no-trade clause and accept a deal to Chicago without any significant reworking of his contract or other majors concessions.

"That was one of the teams that was attractive for a variety of reasons,'' Peavy's agent Barry Axelrod said. "They do the things necessary to try to put a winning team out there year after year."

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