Soon-to-be free agent starter Jake Peavy has the Cubs "at the top of his wish list" and would like to reunite with fellow free agent Jon Lester next season, according to a report from Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Cubs are expected to aggressively pursue Lester this winter, meaning that Peavy could end up with Chicago as part of a package deal if his ex-Red Sox teammate winds up there.
Peavy told Wittenmyer that "there's a package deal out there for any team", and that he "certainly knows that Chicago would interest him and interest me". The right-hander has familiarity with the city of Chicago, as he spent parts of five seasons with the White Sox from 2009 to 2013.
Peavy, 33, will hit the free agent market after pitching exceptionally well down the stretch for the NL champion Giants, and is expected to draw significant interest from many teams, including San Francisco. Wittenmyer notes that the Cubs are not "especially optimistic" about signing Lester due to his extremely high expected price tag, but that Peavy will probably be in the mix for the club regardless of what happens with Lester.
If the Cubs are unable to land Lester, James Shields appears to be a backup option for the team, according to Wittenmyer, who also notes that a reunion with Jason Hammel is possible. Shields would be more likely to join the North Siders if they hire Joe Maddon as their manager; Shields played for Maddon in Tampa Bay from 2006 to 2012.