Tag: Jake Peavy

Jake Peavy Trade Could Be Giants’ Latest Reclamation Success Story

The San Francisco Giants have this special trick that they like to perform on seemingly over-the-hill veterans that involves turning them into, well, not over-the-hill veterans.

And now Jake Peavy could be next.

If you’re just joining us, the Giants acquired the veteran right-hander from the Boston Red Sox early Saturday in return for left-handed prospect Edwin Escobar and right-handed prospect Heath Hembree, per MLB.com’s Chris Haft. Peavy is already slated to start for the Giants on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Be it Peavy or whoever, the Giants definitely needed to make a trade for a starting pitcher. Their rotation has been shaky outside of Tim Hudson and Madison Bumgarner all season, and the club recently put Matt Cain on the 15-day disabled list with a cranky right elbow that may take some time to stop being cranky.

As for what the Giants are getting, let’s go ahead and say it: On the surface, it doesn’t look good.

In 20 starts with the Red Sox, Peavy racked up a 1-9 record with a 4.72 ERA, a 1.48 WHIP and a league-high 20 home runs. Bad numbers, those.

And the numbers beneath the numbers aren’t so good either. We can go to FanGraphs and consult metrics like FIP, xFIP and SIERA for estimates of what Peavy’s ERA should be, and they all agree that he indeed deserves an ERA well over 4.00.

From there, we can note that Peavy’s strikeout rate is trending nowhere but down, that his walk rate is trending nowhere but up and that his average fastball velocity has fallen to just 89.9 miles per hour.

In so many words: Rather than the guy who won the National League Cy Young in 2007, yeah, Peavy looks like a 33-year-old with a lot of miles on his right arm. So why should anyone bother getting his hopes up?

Well, there’s the Giants’ track record when it comes to that trick they like to perform, for one.

Just in the last few years, they’ve performed it on the likes of Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, Cody Ross, Ryan Vogelsong, Marco Scutaro and, most recently, Hudson. And even after listing all those names, it feels like I’m missing a guy or two.

But more importantly, there’s how Peavy is going to a much better place for his talents than the place he’s leaving.

There’s the obvious, and that’s that Peavy will now get to pitch in the National League again. And obvious though that may be, his splits between the two leagues say this is no small bonus.

Via Baseball-Reference.com:

Granted, one thing about the NL numbers is that they were compiled when the former San Diego Padre was much younger and had much, much (seriously, much) better stuff. Unless there’s a fountain of youth somewhere on the Embarcadero, he’s not getting that stuff back.

There is, however, one thing that hasn’t changed about Peavy since his youth. He’s still a fly-ball pitcher, with FanGraphs putting his fly-ball percentage for 2014 at a par-for-the-course 42.2 percent.

That’s a bad habit to have in the company of American League hitters and a dangerous habit to have at a stadium like Fenway Park. At AT&T Park, on the other hand, being a fly-ball pitcher might as well be recommended.

According to ESPN.com’s Park Factors, AT&T Park has a ho-hum rating as the worst park in the majors for home runs. That’s the park’s huge dimensions at work, and said dimensions are a big reason why Giants pitchers are allowing just a .422 slugging percentage on fly balls.

That’s compared to .499 for Red Sox pitchers and .536 for Peavy specifically. So yeah.

But hey, if you’re still not convinced that the move to AT&T Park will be good for Peavy’s super-fly-ball style, FanGraphs‘ Tony Blengino would urge you to consider this:

If you took all of Peavy’s 2013 fly balls allowed, and put half of them in Fenway Park, he would have allowed a .310 AVG-.870 SLG, 130 production relative to the MLB average. Put those same fly balls into AT&T Park, and it drops to .286 AVG-.777 SLG. This is not an insignificant difference.

There. You should be convinced now.

But Peavy’s comfort level in San Francisco could be helped by something besides the NL surroundings and AT&T Park’s dimensions. He’ll also be reuniting with his old San Diego skipper in Bruce Bochy.

Which, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney, was actually a driving force for the Giants to make the deal:

Here’s guessing that Bochy himself might have had a hand in influencing Giants general manager Brian Sabean, as he told this to Janie McCauley of The Associated Press:

The excitement is more than likely mutual, as Steve Kroner of the San Francisco Chronicle recalled that Peavy called it a “sad, sad day” for the Padres organization when Bochy left for San Francisco in 2007.

Goodness knows what sort of difference, if any, reuniting with Bochy is going to have on Peavy. It could certainly make no difference at all.

But you never know. In situations like these, it’s not unheard of for the right voice to make an impact. We saw a pretty good example play out in the place Peavy is leaving just last year, as reuniting with John Farrell seemed to help Red Sox ace lefty Jon Lester bounce back from a horrid 2012 season.

So despite Peavy’s lousy numbers, his age and his diminished stuff, there are reasons to be optimistic about what he could do for the Giants the rest of the way. From a league, ballpark and managerial standpoint, the change of scenery is a good one for him.

It might be asking a lot of Peavy to help drastically increase the Giants’ half-game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West. But if he can at least help them hold on to it, it’ll be another successful reclamation trick in the books.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted/linked.

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Jake Peavy to Giants: Latest Trade Details, Comments and Reaction

A year ago, Jake Peavy was shipped to the Boston Red Sox and subsequently helped his new team win the World Series. The San Francisco Giants will be hoping he can make a similar impact in 2014. The team confirmed the news on Saturday:

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal notes Peavy’s feelings on Bruce Bochy:

Alex Pavlocic of the San Jose Mercury News reveals why the Giants made the move now:

San Francisco traded for the 33-year-old right-hander Saturday, shipping minor league pitchers to Boston in return. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported the news: 

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported what the Red Sox would be getting in return:

Olney also broke down how Peavy’s salary would be split:

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News notes that the deal makes a lot of sense:

CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly reports that Peavy will start for the Giants almost immediately:

The Giants acquired Peavy with the intent to start him Sunday against the Dodgers at AT&T Park in place of fill-in starter Yusmeiro Petit, who had made one appearance in the rotation (five runs in five innings at Philadelphia) since the club placed Matt Cain on the disabled list with elbow inflammation.

Cain’s uncertain status compelled the Giants to back-burner their pursuit of a second baseman, right-handed hitting outfielder or reliever. They needed to plug a bigger hole in their rotation.

It’s a typical July swap.

The Sox, toiling at the bottom of the AL East, have no need for Peavy. His two-year, $29 million deal expires at the end of the season, and unless he finishes the year with 255.1 innings pitched (read: he won’t), he won’t be eligible for his 2015 player option. Instead of losing him for nothing to free agency, the Sox are able to dump some of this year’s salary and get a solid asset in return. 

As for the Giants, they are solidifying their starting rotation for the stretch run even if Peavy has been far from razor sharp this season. 

He currently owns an ERA well above 4.00 while his WHIP is the worst of his career, but he shouldn’t be valued solely on those numbers. He has looked much better recently and has been through this kind of transition before. 

“Having been through it twice is something that makes it quite a bit easier,” said Peavy, referring to being traded midseason, via The Providence Journal‘s Tim Britton. “I do understand how it all works.”

It certainly worked out pretty well the last time it happened. When Peavy was shipped to the Sox last July, he responded with a clinical August, compiling a 3.18 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over six starts. During that month, the Sox went from up one game in the East to up 4.5.

He slowed down in September and October, but the veteran was crucial for the title-winning run in Boston. 

Peavy isn’t going to anchor his new rotation, but he doesn’t need to. He will eat up innings, provide depth and experience and likely come through with some quality starts at key moments. 

Although he may not be the same player who once won the Cy Young Award, he can better prepare San Francisco for a run in October. The team that just let him go will attest to that. 

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MLB Trade Rumors: Latest Updates on Jake Peavy, Kurt Suzuki and More

Don’t look away now. The MLB player-swapping season is just days away from ending (except for the occasional waiver-wire deal), and every team is exploring potential angles for success.

There is no shortage of trade talk with the July 31 deadline fast approaching. Let’s take a look at the latest rumors on tap in the majors. 


Cardinals Showing Interest in Peavy

The St. Louis Cardinals have been all over the rumor mill, and the latest buzz is in regard to their interest in Boston Red Sox hurler Jake Peavy. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark noted the potential deal in a chat with fans:

“The Peavy deal is still very much alive, by the way. The Red Sox just brought in their top scouts to watch the Cardinals’ New York-Penn League team. And that’s telling us something.”

Peavy’s numbers don’t initially jump out as the kind of summer catch a championship contender is usually looking for. The 33-year-old righty is 1-9 on the season with a 4.72 ERA and 1.472 WHIP, per Baseball-Reference.com.

He amassed those losses in historically dubious fashion, per ESPN Stats & Info:

Still, the Cardinals could acquire Peavy for spare parts and solidify the back end of the rotation. Peavy’s veteran acumen lends itself to a playoff push, and he does have a respectable 4.19 ERA in three July starts, per Baseball-Reference.com.

He doesn’t hold any long-term value for the Red Sox, and the Cardinals are looking to win big and win now. They will need depth in order to leapfrog the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates and take the National League Central crown. This is a potential deal that makes sense for both clubs, provided the Cardinals don’t give up any major prospects.


Suzuki Drawing Some Attention 

It’s hard to generate offense from the catcher’s spot, which is why Kurt Suzuki finds himself among our latest roundup of trade rumors.

According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, two (likely) playoff-bound teams are interested in the Minnesota Twins backstop:

The Orioles and Cardinals are among teams showing trade interest in Twins veteran catcher Kurt Suzuki. The two contending teams both lost star catchers to injury. St. Louis is looking at catching after star Yadier Molina went out with a thumb injury, and Molina isn’t expected back until September, at the earliest.

NBC Sports’ Aaron Gleeman likes the idea of a Suzuki trade sweepstakes:

As Heyman noted, the Cardinals are in need of a rental at catcher thanks to Yadier Molina’s injury. Suzuki boasts a .308 average, 19 doubles, 40 RBI and an All-Star appearance this season.

He could actually be an improvement for the Cardinals in the short term, and they wouldn’t have to worry about a nasty contract situation, as Suzuki’s current deal is set to expire at the end of the year.

The Orioles could have more long-term interest in Suzuki, as Matt Wieters is out for the season. Suzuki could be a valuable backup for the Orioles, although he may not be open to a reduced role.

The Twins are in last place in the American League Central and reportedly have engaged Suzuki in extension talks, per the Pioneer Press‘s Mike Berardino. So far, nothing has come to fruition. To his credit, Suzuki has been very sensible about the whole process.

“It’s one of those things where it could happen,” he said, via Berardino. “There’s really not much to even think about. It’s part of the business. I’m just taking it day by day here and having fun with my teammates and going out and winning ballgames.”

A trade may be imminent, but Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal claims there is a movement in Minnesota to keep Suzuki:

Considering Suzuki’s season and the contract impasse, it makes more sense for the Twins to sell him to the highest bidder.

Barnes Could Have A Suitor

According to The Denver Post‘s Patrick Saunders, the Toronto Blue Jays are taking a look at Brandon Barnes:

The Toronto Blue Jays have been scouting Barnes, the Rockies’ utility outfielder. With Michael Cuddyer due back in mid-August, a Barnes deal, at the right price, could make sense, but an MLB source says Toronto has not yet put together a deal for Barnes.

Should the Blue Jays make a definitive move for Barnes, this could be a transaction that works out nicely for both clubs.

Barnes plays all three outfield positions and gives the Blue Jays quality depth in the wide expanses of grass. He’s not striking the ball with much authority, as his .246 average will attest to, but it’s better than that of Anthony Gose (.239) and Colby Rasmus (.215).

Gose‘s average is a bit misleading, as he does have a very strong .342 on-base percentage for the year. Barnes is also capable of some extraordinary glove work at times:

The Blue Jays are locked in a tight battle for the AL East crown. As it stands, they are just 3.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles. The team’s overall play has deteriorated as of late and could really use a shot in the arm to make a playoff push.

A Barnes trade could allow the Rockies to play the seller’s game a bit without giving up Troy Tulowitzki. They need to regroup after this season and gain some assets while they still can. Trading Barnes allows them the opportunity to rebuild and take the pressure off trading a cornerstone player like Tulo.

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Jake Peavy Trade Rumors: Latest Buzz, Speculation Surrounding Red Sox Pitcher

Although the Boston Red Sox aren’t quite out of it in the American League East race with nearly half the MLB season left to play, they could be on the verge of trading away starting pitcher Jake Peavy.

According to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com, the St. Louis Cardinals are interested in the veteran right-hander and watched his strong performance against the Baltimore Orioles Sunday:

WEEI’s Rob Bradford has Peavy’s thoughts on a potential move:

In fact, the Cards are so smitten with Peavy that a deal could happen in short order, per ESPN’s Jayson Stark:

Despite allowing just one earned run, the Red Sox lost Peavy’s most recent start and find themselves 10 games behind the O’s for the division lead. Peavy has been a victim of poor run support recently, but he put the onus on himself in the wake of that defeat, according to Tim Britton of the Providence Journal.   

“I take responsibility for it,” Peavy said. “I’ve got to be better. We’ve got to win on this day. That’s all there is to it. I’m as sick of it as you guys are.”

The defending World Series champions may be forced to go into sell mode at 39-50 with the trade deadline quickly approaching. If that is the case, then Peavy is an obvious candidate to move since he has a $15 million player option next season, per Rotoworld.

St. Louis already has one of the best starting rotations in the league when health, but Michael Wacha, Jaime Garcia and Joe Kelly are all currently on the disabled list. That leaves a strong core of Adam Wainwright, Shelby Miller, Lance Lynn and Carlos Martinez, but Peavy could be the missing puzzle piece.

He isn’t the same pitcher who won the 2007 NL Cy Young Award with the San Diego Padres, but the savvy 33-year-old knows how to pitch. His 1-7 record and 4.64 ERA this season are certainly disappointing, but a change of scenery may be just what he needs to turn things around.

The Cardinals have had a consistent winning culture over the past several years and are just four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central despite dealing with several injuries. They are still in decent position to nab a wild-card spot as well, but they need another arm.

Peavy is an ideal fourth or fifth starter for a contending team due to his experience. He probably wouldn’t cost the Cardinals a ton either, so it is definitely worth it for St. Louis to take a chance on him.

Trading him may suggest that the Red Sox are throwing in the towel on the season, but they aren’t winning with him and have to make moves with an eye toward the future.


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MLB Trade Rumors: David Price, Jake Peavy and More Buzz Around League

Once the MLB All-Star Game and break comes and goes, well, you can bet the trade market is going to heat up more than the New York City blacktop on a July afternoon. If anything, the deal that sent Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel to the Oakland Athletics was an indication of a big summer of wheeling and dealing to come. 

And yes, the whispers are already starting. Below, you’ll find three juicy rumors to whet your appetite until the main course arrives.


Will Middlebrooks, Boston Red Sox

Will Middlebrooks just can’t seem to put it all together. Before going down with a broken finger, the 25-year-old was hitting .197 with two home runs and nine RBI in 21 games this season. There’s potential for far more, of course, but he hasn’t lived up to expectations just yet.

Still, there’s been buzz around the third baseman, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports:

The Red Sox have been receiving decent trade interest in recent days in third baseman Will Middlebrooks, who’s on injury rehab following his slow start in Boston. But while he looks like a logical trade candidate who may benefit from a change of scenery, Red Sox people are said to seem quite reluctant to deal Middlebrooks.

There could be two reasons for this. The first one is fairly obvious. Middlebrooks, only 25, has big power and it isn’t easy to come by power bats in baseball these days.

The other possible reason involves a bit more supposition. Middlebrooks, if he can show something in the second half, could be seen as a possible piece in case Boston tries to make a run at Marlins star Giancarlo Stanton.

At some point, somebody is going to rescue Stanton from the Miami Marlins, so if the Red Sox indeed harbor secret hopes of being the team to do so, keeping hold of Middlebrooks as a potential trade chip in that deal makes perfect sense. 

Or maybe they just aren’t ready to let him go. Or maybe they’re trying to inflate his value by projecting a reluctance to move him. Or maybe…

…We’ll just have to wait to see what happens, because who knows what they’re actually thinking?


David Price, Tampa Bay Rays

Once again, David Price finds himself as the subject of trade rumors. And once again, it appears the Tampa Bay Rays could end up holding on to him for one reason or another.

Jon Morosi of Fox Sports has more:

And Buster Olney of ESPN says the team is playing the waiting game as it decides whether or not it can make a run at the postseason this year:

At 41-50 and 8.5 games back of the first-place Baltimore Orioles in the AL East, the Rays don’t exactly seem likely to reach the postseason at this juncture. Then again, the Rays have a way of becoming very hard to beat in August and September every year. And don’t look now, but they did just go 9-2 on a road trip and are 17-8 in their last 25.

Price himself thinks the Rays have figured it out, as he told Mike Bauman of MLB.com:

Obviously, we expected to play better baseball at the beginning of the year. We expected to play up to this caliber. This is the type of baseball we expected to play. I don’t know if anybody expected us to hit it the way we are now. We base ourselves off pitching and defense, and we’ve definitely improved in both of those aspects. We’ll take whatever our hitters give us.

In many ways, the Price situation is a no-lose situation for the Rays. If they think they can get back in the race, they’ll be keeping a player who is currently 8-7 with a 3.48 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and 159 strikeouts. If they deal him, they’re going to add some very nice chips in the farm system, the bread and butter of the team’s organizational structure. 

At the moment, it looks like the Rays’ recent play and the fact that they may not get the huge package they would want in exchange for Price means he’s likely to remain in Tampa Bay—just like every other time his name has popped up in rumors. 


Jake Peavy, Boston Red Sox

Things have not gone well for Jake Peavy this year. The Boston Red Sox hurler is 1-7 with a 4.64 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 84 strikeouts in 110.2 innings pitched. Those numbers aren’t exactly screaming “come trade for me” to other teams, but according to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, the Sox might have some suitors anyway:

According to a major league source, a few teams in the NL would have interest in Peavy if the Sox would provide some salary relief for the prorated portion of the $16 million he’s owed this season. Peavy can be a free agent after the season. “No team is going to give up a lot for him, but if the Red Sox want to move him to make room for a youngster like [Rubby] De La Rosa, they could do that,” said the source. It seems the Red Sox will hold on to Peavy, who pitched better in his last outing in front of a lot of scouts.

If the Sox are going to hold on to Peavy, it’s likely at least in part because they would be selling him for 20 cents on the dollar at this point. The hope will be that after recording four quality starts in his last five appearances, he’s turning a corner. 

Other teams might be convinced of that as well, but it sounds like they’ll still want a discount in any deal with Peavy. That leaves the Red Sox negotiating from a place of weakness, so Peavy remains likely to stick around in Beantown


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Jake Peavy Trade Rumors: White Sox SP a Worthy Deadline Gamble for Contenders

Now that Matt Garza has traded in his deep-dish Chicago pizza for Texas barbecue, perhaps the biggest remaining question before the 2013 MLB trade deadline will be whether a certain hurler on the South Side will do the same.

Of course, I speak of Chicago White Sox righty Jake Peavy, who has taken the aluminum-encrusted Best Pitcher Available championship belt. The White Sox haven’t exactly come out and put a “for sale” sign on Peavy’s lawn or anything, but the tea leaves read in the big, blocked letters you would normally find in a children’s book.

From the moment Garza got sent to the Rangers, the interest in Peavy piqued through the roof. Want to find a team linked to the South Sider? Good luck finding one that isn’t.

The Cubs were able to drive up the price on Garza for a bevy of solid prospects, including the diamond of the deal in right-hander C.J. Edwards. And if power-hitting corner infielder Mike Olt pans out, the Cubbies could have walked away with a damn good haul for a team nosediving its way to Astrodome.

While the White Sox will have a tough time finding that level of return for Peavy—which is weird, considering the two are about equals—Chicago could see a bidding war in the coming days. MLB.com’s Matthew Leach reported earlier Friday that at least 10 teams had scouts in Chicago for Peavy’s start Thursday against the Detroit Tigers.

Pitching against arguably the game’s most fearsome lineup, Peavy handled himself well. He out-dueled Justin Verlander to get the win, going seven strong innings and striking out nine while spraying 11 hits and four earned runs. It wasn’t a dominant performance by any stretch. He needed 118 pitches to work his way though seven innings and gave up three home runs, two of which he was lucky were solo shots.

That said, Peavy walked away relatively unscathed against Miguel Cabrera and Co., a feat far more impressive than his three home runs against is concerning.

In other words, don’t expect any teams to go walking away from the bargaining table over the next week. Especially with the market in a seeming state of inertia at the moment.

“There are no players anymore,” a team executive told ESPN’s Jayson Stark about the quiet trade market. “I mean that. There’s a real shortage of players.”

In the desert-like conditions of this year’s deadline, Peavy is the RC Cola machine. He’s the best player on the market, a difference-maker who could help bolster the rotation of a contending team. He’ll also come cheaper than Garza, both in terms of prospects and overall cost. Garza is due to hit the free-agent market this winter, and is ineligible for a qualifying offer because he was traded. Peavy is under contract for $14.5 million next season and has an option for $15 million the next.

When trading prospects for Peavy, you’re getting at least 1.4 seasons. When trading them for Garza, the Rangers risked losing the righty this winter. Holding Peavy’s rights undoubtedly helped spark much of the interest, as an innumerable amount of related rumors have come over the hot stoves in recent weeks.

MLB.com’s Scott Merkin reported earlier this week that the Boston Red Sox have discussed a package centered around third baseman Will Middlebrooks. It’s not known whether Boston is pushing Middlebrooks, 24, as a centerpiece or if Chicago is claiming that that’s the cost of doing business. But considering that Middlebrooks was once the golden child within the Red Sox organization, it should be an indicator that the cost of business will be high.

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has noted Boston, the Oakland Athletics and St. Louis Cardinals are seen as the co-favorites of sorts. The Atlanta Braves linger as another darkhorse, with Tim Hudson’s ankle injury leaving question marks in an otherwise excellent rotation. 

And that’s just a little sampling. We’ve seen multiple instances of teams swooping in from nowhere at the last minute to land elite talent, and Peavy might be the latest example.

None of that answers the major question: Is Peavy worth the fuss?

For teams with an actual shot of World Series glory, the answer is certainly yes. Peavy looks fully recovered from his rib injury earlier in the season, returning to the mound after the All-Star break with just about the same velocity as he had prior. While he’s given up six earned runs over 13 innings in those outings, they’ve come against Atlanta and Detroit—two of the very best teams in baseball. Metrically, he was a little below-average in both outings, but any team would be more than happy to have either outing in September and October with Peavy as their second or third starter.

The season as a whole has been an up-and-down affair. Eight of his starts have been considered quality starts, meaning he gave up three or fewer earned runs while going at least six innings. That’s the good. Peavy has also given up six runs on three separate occasions, one of which came against the lowly Cubs.

From an advanced perspective, Peavy’s 2013 is better in line with his frustrating 2011 campaign than any other season in Chicago. His 4.10 FIP would be the second-highest of his career, and he’s also on pace to set a career-low groundball rate—a concern considering that trait has been trending downward each of the past four seasons. And should the campaign end today, Peavy would finish with the highest home run rate of his career.

That’s the bad. His inconsistencies are understandably concerning, which is probably why he’ll fetch a lower haul than Garza. But that’s also exactly why a contender can pounce while they still can.

These numbers are completely out of whack from what we’ve seen from Peavy over the course of his career, leaving some regression to the mean meat still on the bone. His home run rate should especially stabilize over a larger sample, and there’s a reason Peavy has only two career seasons with a FIP over 4.00.

As his ratios stable, his standard stats should do the same. Take a home run here or there away, and you’re looking at a pitcher with a mid-three ERA, solid WHIP and strikeout rate. He’s a damn good pitcher, and he’ll continue being one as he gets more comfortable after his DL stint. 

The question is where he’ll be doing so. Boston and St. Louis, thanks to their penchant for making similar splashes, probably seem like the most natural fits. Atlanta would be interesting, but the Braves need to focus on getting bullpen help before anything else; they’ll be solid in the rotation with or without Peavy.

But the real interesting possibility here remains Oakland. The Athletics, plucky as ever in the Bay Area with their under-appreciated talent and genius general manager, are three games ahead of Texas in the AL West. The Rangers already made their big splash in Garza, and are probably expecting a run of passivity from their biggest divisional rival.

But what if Billy Beane actually went for it? The A’s have the prospects to get a deal done yesterday. They have the infrastructure in place and at least a chance of making a run deep into October. Add Peavy to the mix, and they might just have a shot of keeping the World Series title back in the Bay Area. 

Whether it’s Oakland, Boston or any other team left on the market, it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Peavy might have been the secondary target, but he could be the one who decides the race.  


All advanced stats via FanGraphs.


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Chicago White Sox Extend Jake Peavy and Pick Up Gavin Floyd’s 2013 Option

In a bold move Tuesday afternoon, the Chicago White Sox signed Jake Peavy to a contract extension and picked up the option on Gavin Floyd. With Peavy and Floyd penciled into the 2013 starting rotation, the White Sox signaled that they intend to win the AL Central next year.

As reported by Jon Heyman from CBSSports.com, Peavy’s extension is worth $29 million over two years.

Peavy, 32, had an impressive campaign in 2012. He went 11-12 with a 3.37 ERA and struck out 194 in 219 innings. Along with Chris Sale, Peavy was a constant for the White Sox rotation this past season and he would have been missed.

Almost simultaneously, MLBTradeRumors.com reported that the White Sox had picked up Floyd’s $9.5 million option.

Floyd’s 2012 stats (12-11, 4.29 ERA and 144 Ks in 168 innings) were less impressive than Peavy’s, but he is as solid a No. 4 starter as there is in the AL.

Prior to the moves today, next year’s rotation had been a question mark. Now, the White Sox seemingly have one of the best rotations in the league.

In addition to Sale, John Danks and Jose Quintana, Peavy and Floyd provide the White Sox with a balanced rotation and reasons for legitimate optimism on the South Side.

Now, Danks is coming off surgery, while Sale and Quintana each surpassed career highs in innings pitched, so how everything comes together is still very much unknown. The moves have to excite White Sox fans, however.

One very large question looms after today’s announcement, though.

Do the moves preclude White Sox GM Rick Hahn from re-signing A.J. Pierzynski and bringing Kevin Youkilis back?

Based on Hahn’s statement that the White Sox will have a 2013 payroll “right in the same neighborhood” they “spent in 2012” (per Patrick Mooney from Comcast Sports Net), it would seem so.

Then again, the White Sox have surprised us more than once, so anything is possible.

Mark Gonzales from the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that the White Sox have until Friday to make qualifying offers to both men.



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Jake Peavy Signs 2-Year, $29 Million Extension with Chicago White Sox

Jake Peavy, one of the more sought-after free-agent pitchers for this winter, is already off the market.

The news of his new deal with the Chicago White Sox comes from CBS’ Jon Heyman:

According to Dan Hayes at CSNChicago.com, the 31-year-old righty will make $14.5 million in 2013 and 2014, and can exercise an option worth $15 million in 2015 if he hits certain thresholds.

It was believed all along that Peavy would re-sign with the White Sox, but at first glance, this seems like a fairly steep price for his services.

That’s not to say he wasn’t downright dominant at times in 2012.

Peavy went just 11-12, but his 3.37 ERA was his best since his last full season with the San Diego Padres in 2008, and his 1.096 WHIP was his best since his 2007 Cy Young campaign.

Throw in an impressive 3.96 SO/BB ratio, four complete games, 219 innings pitched and 194 strikeouts, and it’s clear that Peavy is past the shoulder problems that plagued him in 2010 and 2011. 

Still, it’s not like a 31-year-old with a history of arm problems coming off his most busy season in five years doesn’t come without risk. While he was going to draw a ton of interest in free agency, the large contract is, at the very least, a bit surprising.

Thus, the job of CAA’s Jeff Berry, Peavy’s new agent, is complete. 

Nonetheless, while Peavy’s new contract certainly is a bit risky, it also comes with plenty of potential, and if he continues to pitch like he did in 2012, the White Sox have a surefire ace for the next two seasons.


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No More Time for Mediocrity: Time for White Sox to Start the Rebuilding Process

During Kenny Williams’ 12 year tenure as the general manager of the Chicago White Sox, his teams year in and year out have constantly found ways to overachieve, and then more often than not, have found ways to disappoint their fans as their season came to an end.

The 2012 season was no different.

The White Sox came into the season with very little expectations. Heading into the season with a “retooled” roster, not one expert giving them even a slight chance to compete with the stacked and loaded Detroit Tigers. Yet again, the White Sox managed to prove the experts wrong. They held the lead in the division throughout the majority of the season, rarely allowing the Tigers to enjoy that first place feeling.

That is, until the final two weeks of the regular season came along, and all the experts proved to be right.

The White Sox found a way to cough up the division, going 4-11 in their final 15 games, two of those wins coming in the final three games when they didn’t even matter anymore.

The White Sox finished their season with 85 wins and 77 losses, numbers that don’t look bad on paper, but won’t leave any fan satisfied with their team, as that amount of wins will very seldom lead a team to the playoffs, which is the ultimate of any team heading into the regular season.

If there is one lesson that should be taken out of this, it’s that mediocrity never leads to success or positive feedback.

What do I mean by this?

Simple, I’m tired of watching my favorite team constantly be good enough to complete, but very rarely be good enough to succeed.

Sure, they did had a magical run in 2005 when they won the World Series after winning 11 of their 12 playoff games. However, I’m tired of living in 2005, and those type of runs only happen once every 100 years, as proven by the White Sox, who hadn’t won a World Series in 88 years prior to the 2005 season.

Up until the end of the 2011 season, I was really happy about the fact that Williams would do anything to ensure that he puts a winning team on the field. His boss was willing to spend money to put a winner on the field, therefore, that is exactly what he did.

Some years his strategy worked out, and other times it didn’t. However, upon the end of the 2011 season, the White Sox were stuck in unfamiliar territory.

For the first time throughout his tenure, Williams was asked to trim the team’s payroll instead of increasing it. The team had just suffered their second losing season in three years, not reaching the playoffs once in that three year span.

Furthermore, ticket sales had dropped for the fifth straight years, and owner Jerry Reinsdorf couldn’t afford to keep spending money on his roster if the fans weren’t spending money to watch his team play.

Many fans believed the White Sox were heading into a rebuilding process, especially after trading away Carlos Quentin, Sergio Santos and Jason Frasor for a handful of minor leaguers and not signing any key free agents, not to mention letting Mark Buehrle and Juan Pierre sign with other teams.

Some, including me, felt more trades were coming. After all, I feel if a team is going to rebuild, there is no point of stalling the process.

My gut was telling me that at least some combination of Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski, Matt Thornton, Jesse Crain, Gavin Floyd and John Danks would not be in a White Sox uniform heading into the 2012 season.

Instead, the winter months came and went, and no transaction were occurring, leaving many fans wondering exactly in what direction were the White Sox heading in.

Williams claimed the team was “retooling”, but I don’t think any fan bought that. In my eyes, he was leading the team into mediocrity, which, in my opinion, is the absolute worst position a team can be in.

There is obviously no better position to be in than competing for a championship.

The second best direction a team can be in is completely rebuilding from scratch, as that type of team is at least giving their young talent a chance to develop, giving that organization hope that the team can be competing for a championship sometime in the distant future.

In addition, a team that is rebuilding will most likely finish with awful records for a few seasons, giving them higher picks when the draft rolls around.

The absolutely worst position a team can be stuck in is mediocrity.

The reason I say this is because this type of team has a very, very small chance of competing for a championship and is not giving many opportunities for their younger talent to develop, not to mention the fact that their draft picks will not be nearly as high as they’d like them to be.

After experimenting with “retooling” the roster, there is no more time for games to be played by Williams.

It’s time to do exactly what the crosstown rivals Chicago Cubs did during this previous season: start from scratch and attempt to set up the roster with all the young talent that is available via trade, free agency or the minor league system.

Will this be a long process?

It most likely will be. After all, the White Sox minor league system, in terms of talent and potential, is considered if not the worst minor league system in all of baseball, then definitely one of the worst.

When it comes to the White Sox organization, however, it seems like they are out of options.

Despite winning 85 games and leading their division throughout a majority of this previous season, the White Sox total attendance dropped under two million for the first time since the 2004 season. 

Sure, it can be blamed on the tough economical times, but I truly do feel that all hope had been sucked out of all White Sox fans before the season even began, and most fans were never able to regain that hope.

There even seemed to be more hope on the other side of town, despite the fact that Cub fans knew there team was going to be awful, if not the worst in the league.

The reason why this was the case was because Cubs fans at least had the opportunity to gaze into the future, and hope that all the young talent they have on their roster will potentially turn the organization into a perennial contender sooner rather than later.

Although the White Sox may not have a surplus of young talent on their roster and in their minor league system, the talent that is there really did provide the some hope for the team’s future.

Nate Jones (2.39 ERA in 71.2 innings), Addison Reed (29 saves) and Donnie Veal (19 strikeouts in 13 innings) all did their parts to show that the bullpen can be in good hands over the next 5-10 years.

Chris Sale (17 wins and 3.05 ERA) and Jose Quintana (3.76 ERA) showed the organization that experience is not a necessity for a player to be considered very good.

On the offensive side of the ball, Dayan Viciedo (25 home runs and 78 RBIs) proved that the White Sox will have some power in the future, regardless of whether they are rebuilding or not.

What’s more important is the way some of the veterans on this roster performed throughout the previous season.

Adam Dunn (41 home runs and 96 RBIs), Alex Rios (.304 batting average, 37 doubles, 25 home runs, 91 RBIs and 23 stolen bases), Konerko (.298 batting average, .371 on-base percentage, 26 home runs and 75 RBI’s)  and Crain (2.44 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 48 innings) all showed that they can still play at a very high level.

Why is that part more important?

Because these are the players that can and should be used as trade bait throughout this offseason in an effort to acquire younger talent.

Their trade value is probably at its highest right now, as the chances that they improve on those numbers this upcoming season is highly unlikely.

They may not get as much talent as they’d like in return for these players, but they’ll at least get something.

Sure, they can wait until the trade deadline when a team will most likely be in need of one of these players, but that would be a huge risk due to the fact that these players are aging and may not repeat their production during the 2013 season.

The players the White Sox could wait till midseason to use as trade leverage include Alexei Ramirez, Gordon Beckham, Thornton and Danks. All these players had decent seasons in 2012, but have the potential to have better seasons in 2013, which would raise their trade value.

A few other players who can be used as trade chips during the offseason can be any of the impending free agents the White Sox have on their roster, which includes a list of Jake Peavy, Pierzynski, Floyd, Kevin Youkilis, Brett Myers and Francisco Liriano.

The White Sox have claimed that they want many of these players back on the roster for the 2013 season, and if a majority of them repeat what they did this previous season, many teams will be calling the White Sox organization about their availability.

The bottom line is that the White Sox can’t afford to waste time developing the young talent that they do have if they continue to bring back their veteran players and continue to rot in mediocrity. Sale, Viciedo and Reed will not be young forever, and the time to fill out the roster with young talent around them is now.

This may lead to a stretch of painful years for the White Sox organization and their fans, but keeping the veterans and bringing back other ones will only lead to a longer stretch of disappointment.

Williams, Reinsdorf and the rest of the organization need to stop being stubborn, and realize this now. I said this last year and I mean it even more this year.

Whether Williams is the right man for the job is a debate for another day! 

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2012 Chicago White Sox: Kenny Williams Deserves More Credit for the Sox Success

The Chicago White Sox have been a pleasant surprise in 2012.  After the departure of Ozzie Guillen and a series of disappointing years post-2005, the Sox looked as if they would be rebuilding at a rate not much faster than their cross-town counterparts. 

The Sox are at 34-30 and in sole possession of first place. They are approaching the all-star break with a half game lead over the Indians.  More importantly, they have a solid four game lead on the prohibitive favorites in the AL Central, the Detroit Tigers.

Many factors have contributed to the Sox’s success this spring, including the solid first year leadership of Robin Ventura and an MVP caliber first half from mainstay Paul Konerko. The Sox have been able to rebound from last year’s awful offensive season to become a threat to slug it out with any team in the league.

The person that deserves the most credit for this resurgence is Kenny Williams.  The much-maligned GM of the White Sox has always been passionate about fielding a competitive team on the south side and has made several moves, both good and bad to accomplish that. 

He has balanced keeping the main core of the 2005 championship team that all Sox fans have grown to love with several pieces that seemed primed to position them for success in the AL Central year-in year-out. 

He didn’t blow up the team and get rid of aging Sox heroes Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski; He didn’t try to solely build for the future, either, by saving money at the expense of Sox fans.

Instead, he found a way to bring back the mainstays of this Sox squad while issuing in talented players to compliment the young players that have been brought up into the mix. 

While the Cubs brass on the north side was often accused of standing pat and passing on opportunities to get better, the Sox have almost always opted to make moves that will keep them in contention. Unfortunately for Williams, in the past four years he has been tagged to his misses more than his successful moves.   

While he’s had had acquisitions like Omar Vizquel, Matt Thornton, JJ Putz and Orlando Cabrera that were productive; he’s had moves that did not work out like Mark Teahan, Manny Ramirez and Ken Griffey Jr. that people have put more emphasis on when judging him. 

If you throw in players he’s had mixed results with—Jim Thome, Nick Swisher, Juan Pierre, Freddy Garcia, Jose Contreras and Scott Linebrink—it really gets hard to judge how he has done with his active moments. 

On the other hand, he’s had some of his prized prospects not work out quite to their billing—like Brian Anderson, Gordon Beckham, Josh Fields, Chris Getz and Daniel Hudson (the prized prospect he let get away after a slow start).

Overall though, he’s made some awesome signings and produced some very good prospects. The core of his current team is built on rising star and Cy Young candidate Chris Sale. To go along with Sale is John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Alexei Ramirez. 

He has developed several prospects that have really shown great promise in Alejandro De Aza, Dayan Viciedo, Tyler Flowers, Phil Humber and the ever-so-popular Brent Lillibridge.

He’s made timely signings in the past of Jermaine Dye, AJ Pierzynski, Scott Podsednik (twice) and Tad Iguchi, among others.

The biggest story with Kenny that shows how he deserves more credit is when some of his sure-bet signings went wrong on him in flukish fashion. It was hard to hear Williams get pounded for putting his neck out and acquiring players that were well regarded around the league like Jake Peavy, Adam Dunn and Alex Rios

It seemed a little bit unfair that, given the Sox had a need for heavy-hitting productive players and top-of-the-rotation pitching depth, that Williams was slammed for getting players that fit the bill consistently over the course of their careers.

Jake Peavy was the opening day starter for Team USA in the last Baseball Classic and was consistently among the ERA and strikeout leaders in the NL for the Padres.  He was a unanimous CY Young winner in 2007, his ERA was under 3.00 three times, he struck out over 200 three times and despite an ankle injury that slowed him down, he was a great candidate to compliment the already solid pitching staff led by Buehrle, Danks and Floyd.   

It was perfectly reasonable to expect him to be back by the end of the 2009 season, make a few starts and be ready to go in 2010.  However, Peavy’s run in Chicago started with a rash of on and off again injuries and only a handful of quality, meaningful starts in his time in Chicago. That was frustrating to everyone, and counter to his track record, so it’s hard to blame Kenny for that lack of success.

Adam Dunn has been a model of consistency as an old school slugger.  He consistently has hit 40 home runs during the meat of his career.  Since 2004, his third full year in the big leagues, he has hit at least 40 home runs every year except for 2009 and 2010 for the Nationals in which he hit 38 in both seasons.  In that same time period, he only missed 100 RBI one time and that was in 2006 when he had 92 RBI for the Reds.  This is a span of seven years in which he was consistent and predictable in his production, all leading up to his signing with the White Sox. 

Sure he is a shoe in to strikeout 150 times or more almost every year, but you budget for that when you get a slugger like Dunn.  Given that the Sox needed more left-handed power depth in their order to protect Konerko in Jim Thome’s absence, this move made perfect sense.  However, in 2011, his first year with the Sox, he had a season to remember in the worst way. 

Adam Dunn may have arguably been the worst full-time hitter in the major leagues last year.  Some would argue his performance was historical.  After all of those productive years for three different teams, in 415 at bats he hit .159 with 11 HR and 42 RBI.  He struck out 177 times, which is more like him, but in every other way, Dunn’s performance was completely unrecognizable. 

Many slammed Williams for this signing, but that was unfair given the information and track record Williams was presented with prior to Dunn’s arrival in Chicago. There is no way you could predict or plan for such struggles, but it happened. 

Alex Rios is a little bit more of a debatable scenario because of the money that he is being paid ($12.5 million), but he was no slouch in Toronto either.  He had three or four very solid years including a .297, 24 HR 85 RBI season in 2007 and a .302 17 HR 86 RBI season in 2006. 

His struggles in Chicago were a surprise because, although he was having a sub par season in Toronto in 2009 when he came over, his first six years in the league had all been pretty respectable with averages generally around .300.

This year, Williams has gotten the last laugh on his high-investment decisions that seemed to have gone bad.  Jake Peavy has rebounded from several seasons of injury-plagued ball on the south side with a sparkling 6-2 record with a 2.91 ERA and 78 Strikeouts in 13 starts.  He is 6th in the AL in ERA and 7th in strikeouts. 

This is the type of pitcher that Kenny Williams hoped to get in the long run and had no reason to believe he wouldn’t get. 

Adam Dunn, after his miserable 2011 campaign, is currently leading the Major Leagues with 23 home runs.  That total is one more than Josh Hamilton, who is arguably the most feared hitter in Major League Baseball. 

Very few of his home runs have been cheap also.  He has been dead on the ball and hit several towering majestic flies. He is also second in the AL with 52 RBI.  His batting average is still pretty low, but this is pretty much what Kenny signed up for when he got him last year. 

It’s hard to hold an odd aberration season like what he had last year against Kenny Williams.  The proof is in the pudding, you book Adam Dunn for 35-40 HR and 100 RBI every year, and it appears this year should be no different.

Even Alex Rios has bounced back to have a solid season thus far, batting .294 with 32 RBI.  He may not be performing on the level of Dunn and Peavy, but he is producing on a level that makes the idea of having him on the team as a productive force a respectable one, unlike other years in his tenure for the Sox.

In the end, even after letting go of the face of the organization and letting guys like Carlos Quentin and Mark Buehrle go in free agency, the White Sox are relevant once again.  He helped make the solid decision to hire good-looking skipper Robin Ventura, and the moves he made in the past have all seemed to pan out now. 

Kenny deserves some credit for his work as GM here in Chicago since 2000 and people should be patient when player’s and/or teams have aberration type bad years. 

Obviously he helped bring a Championship to Chicago, but he deserves credit for making a variety of moves that give the Sox a chance year-in and year-out to compete for another one. He has never been satisfied and although some of his moves have not worked out for him, you can never knock him for trying.

We’ll see if they can make a run at another AL Central title in this year and add another impressive notation to Kenny Williams’s resume in unlikely fashion.

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