Given the opportunity, would you swap Jake for Clayton, straight up?
Here is why I think this would be a win-win scenario for both clubs.
The Dodgers are built to win NOW. Their lineup is solid top to bottom, even without Manny Ramirez. Their biggest weakness is their pitching staff. Jake is a polished player who is at his peak right now, and will be there for another few years. The Dodgers could make great use of Peavy in that time period. He would immediately improve their starting rotation which, as mentioned, could definitely use the help.
The Padres, on the other hand, are a few years away from competing. They have talent in the system, but by the time those players are ready to contribute at the major league level, Jake will be past his prime, and will not be worth the price of his contract.
Kershaw is young and very talented, but is still raw and not yet producing at an elite level. He's not at the point where he can lead a pitching staff, and probably won't be there for a couple years. As mentioned earlier, the Dodgers are built to win right now, not in a few years. Sure he's a nice piece to have, but when you want to win a championship immediately, a finished product is worth more than one with potential. On the Padres' side, Kershaw would start to enter his peak right when the talent they have developing in the minors right now would start producing in the major leagues. Kershaw would also be exactly the piece the Padres don't have anywhere in the system--a dominating left-handed pitcher. He could be the head of an elite Padres pitching staff for years to come.
Financially, it makes sense as well. Jake's contract is an albatross around the neck of the organization. It looked doable when the payroll was expected to be $75-80 million dollars a year, but now that we're looking at the $40-50 million range for the next couple years, it's unsustainable. The Dodgers, however, are a big-market club with a big payroll. They could afford to take on Peavy's contract, at least for the next two or three years. By acquiring Kershaw, the Padres would immediately replace an expensive, talented player with one who is also talented, but much younger and much cheaper.
Lastly, LA makes sense for Jake because first and foremost, he wants to win a championship. Have I mentioned the Dodgers are built to win right now? They're set to run away with the NL West and possibly have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Jake pitchers pretty well in Dodger Stadium, and is very familiar with it. It also makes sense for Jake because he doesn't have to move his family. He can stay in southern California, and probably in the same house. His kids can stay in the same school. Lastly, he would get to stay in the National League, where he could keep hitting and keep getting to face the opposing pitcher every 9th batter. On Kershaw's part, I'm sure he would rather stay with the Dodgers and compete to win a championship right now, but thankfully he doesn't have a no-trade clause, so what he thinks doesn't matter nearly as much as what Jake thinks. Also, he shouldn't be too upset, because he'd get to pitch in PETCO, with everything it does to help pitchers.
In sum, I love Jake Peavy, and I would like nothing more than to keep him a Padre for his entire career. But it just doesn't make sense anymore, for the team or for Jake. I'd like to see him go somewhere he could help his career, and I'd like to see us get something in return for him that would really help us. That's why I'd be in favor of this trade.
What do you all think?