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12/09/08 1:44 AM EST

Phils may be third party in Peavy talks

World Series champions could facilitate ace's trade to Cubs

LAS VEGAS -- The defending World Series champion Philadelphia Phillies arose Monday as the possible middleman in a trade of right-hander Jake Peavy from the San Diego Padres to the Chicago Cubs.

According to a Major League source, the Phillies are exploring "every option" to try to improve their pitching staff and fill a hole in left field which could be created by the possible departure of free agent Pat Burrell.

The Padres like some of the Phillies' young Minor League pitchers. Who the Cubs might send to the Phillies is up to question at the moment, with the name of veteran right-hander Jason Marquis consistently being floated.

Ruben Amaro Jr., the Phils' new general manager, declined to comment about the possibility of being involved in a Peavy trade, although a source said there have been talks.

The Padres have been attempting to move their ace, who is owed $63 million over the next four seasons. The Cubs have been the main target since a deal with the Braves collapsed last month, but a match between the Padres and Cubs hasn't been found, so San Diego GM Kevin Towers has said a third or fourth team might be needed to get a deal done.

Towers said Monday that a deal with the Cubs will most likely need to take place this week at the Winter Meetings or he expects to halt the process of trying to move Peavy, the 27-year-old ace who won the National League Cy Young Award and that league's pitching Triple Crown just one year ago.

Towers wouldn't comment on the Phillies being a possible go-between to get Peavy to the Cubs, saying only on Monday that "there's a package there that would please us."

Meanwhile, Amaro said he continues to talk with a myriad of clubs and agents about filling his club's holes, which also includes the possible departure of veteran left-hander Jamie Moyer via free agency.

According to an SI.com report, the Phillies are believed to have offered Moyer a two-year deal for about $14 million. Moyer is said to be looking for $18 million over two years. At the same time, the Phillies are said to be one of several teams to make an offer to free-agent right-hander Derek Lowe.

Amaro declined to talk about players on other teams he might be talking with, but said that obtaining a starting pitcher would not necessarily prelude the re-signing of Moyer.

"You can never have enough pitching," Amaro said.

"We've spent the day trying to crystallize some of the things we want to do," Amaro said. "We've had some sort of discussions with each of the 29 other clubs. Our desire is trying to improve this team."

Amaro, who replaced Pat Gillick just days after the Phillies defeated the Rays in a ran-delayed five-game World Series, is in his first months as a GM after a decade with the club as an assistant.

As far as Burrell goes, Amaro said he's had no substantive talks about bringing back the right-handed slugger who had three homers and eight RBIs in 14 postseason games.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.