The Red Sox should sign pitcher Jake Peavy to be their third starter if he becomes available this offseason. This would be my first step in rebuilding the Red Sox pitching staff and roster. The White Sox hold a 2013 option on Peavy but they are unlikely to exercise the $22 million option.
The 31-year-old Peavy would be exactly what the Red Sox need in the middle of their rotation, supporting pitchers Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz and John Lackey. Peavy would serve as a bridge until the next wave of Boston pitching talent is ready for the majors.
Peavy had an excellent 2012 campaign for the White Sox (11-12 with a 3.37 ERA). The big numbers for Peavy are the 32 starts he made and the 219 inning he pitched, showing that his injury issues from 2010 and 2011 are behind him. Peavy's career numbers are very much in line with his 2012 performance.
Watching the Tigers and Orioles face the Yankees this postseason reinforced the notion that pitching is the great equalizer. Having a pitching staff that can miss bats and generate weak contact is a huge advantage for any team.
Pitching is the reason the Red Sox haven’t won a playoff game in four years and haven’t been to the playoffs in three years. Pitching is the reason the Red Sox collapsed down the stretch in 2011 and the reason the Red Sox lost 93 games last season.
Pitching is the reason that John Farrell was hired as manager yesterday. The Red Sox have to address their pitching in a major way and Peavy would be a great start in that direction. Jon Lester hasn’t been the same since John Farrell left to become the Blue Jays manager. Clay Buchholz had his breakout season in 2010, Farrell’s last season as the Boston pitching coach. If both pitchers can regain their 2010 forms under Farrell and the Red Sox can sign Jake Peavy, the Red Sox immediately become a playoff contender in 2013.
Recruiting Peavy and having him select Boston will be a difficult task, but one the team can handle if they handle it the right way. John Farrell can sell him on pitching in Boston and playing for a historic franchise in a passionate market. Money shouldn’t be an issue here; the Red Sox have plenty and desperately need to bring in another high-end arm to support their rotation. Draft pick compensation shouldn’t be an issue because the Red Sox #1 pick in 2013 is protected, meaning the Red Sox can be very aggressive in free agency.
Signing Peavy alone will not cure all of the Red Sox ailments but it would be an excellent first step in the right direction. Peavy would protect the Red Sox long-term future while allowing them to compete for a playoff spot in 2013.