On Wednesday, ESPN reported a possible three-team, seven-player scenario in which the Phillies would send either Minor League pitcher J.A. Happ or Carlos Carrasco plus shortstop Jason Donald to the Cubs in exchange for DeRosa. The Cubs would then send the two young Phillies players to the Padres for Peavy along with Jason Marquis, Felix Pie and Josh Vitters.
However, a source said the names of the Phillies' Minor League players were "erroneous," but did reaffirm the defending world champions would like to acquire DeRosa. Cubs general manager Jim Hendry would not comment on the ESPN report.
Both the Phillies and Cubs would be giving up a lot. Donald, a member of the U.S. Olympic team, batted .307 with 14 homers, 19 doubles and four triples with 54 RBIs in 92 games for Triple-A Reading, and hit .407 for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League.
The Cubs are believed to be trying to move Marquis, who is in the last year of his three-year contract. He was to make $9.875 million next year, and the Cubs would like to avoid having to pick up part of his salary to make a trade work.
Vitters was the Cubs' No. 1 Draft pick in June 2007, and this past season led the Northwest League with 25 doubles. He was named Baseball America's top prospect in the league at the end of the season after hitting .328.
The Phillies are looking for an experienced player to help them while Chase Utley heals. The 2009 season would be the final year of DeRosa's contract with the Cubs. He set career highs in 2008 with 21 home runs, 87 RBIs, 103 runs and a .376 on-base percentage. He can play second, third and the outfield.
A high-placed Cubs official said the team wasn't going to trade him, but another one familiar with the situation said DeRosa wasn't untouchable. If DeRosa went to Philadelphia, it would be a homecoming. He played quarterback at Penn.
"I don't talk about our guys who are rumored to be traded," Hendry said when asked about DeRosa.
Padres general manager Kevin Towers said he did talk to Hendry on Wednesday.
"Before we check out of this hotel ... we'll know if we have a deal."
-- Padres GM Kevin Towers
"Before we check out of this hotel ... we'll know if we have a deal," Towers said. "This has been the entire focus of baseball [operations]."
Peavy is owed $63 million over the next four seasons, and the Cubs have been the main target since talks between the Padres and Braves broke down last month. He would make a good rotation even better, joining Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly and Rich Harden.
The Cubs don't feel any sense of urgency, and if they did not complete a deal for Peavy, they would likely turn their attention to signing free-agent Randy Johnson, who manager Lou Piniella knows from their time together in Seattle.
"We feel good enough to win with the staff and bullpen we have now," Hendry said.
He'd feel even better if Peavy were part of it.