Chicago White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy could find himself with the Cleveland Indians if he can pitch well over his next three starts. After all, Peavy—whom the White Sox acquired from the San Diego Padres in 2009—fits all of the Indians’ criteria.
First off, they need a starting pitcher, according to Tim Dierkes at MLBTradeRumors.com (MLBTR).
Check. Peavy is a starter.
The Indians have a preference for “pitchers who are controllable beyond 2013,” per Steve Adams, also from MLBTR.
Check. Peavy's contract runs through the end of next season, and he has a $15 million player option in 2015.
Finally, Jeff Todd from MLBTR noted that the Tribe are looking for “additions with longer-term value.” In essence, a player they can control beyond this season who is actually good.
Check. When Peavy is healthy, he is as good as they come and could be for the next few seasons.
Why not, right?
While trading a starting pitcher such as Peavy to a division rival may seem like a bad idea, it is not. Trades are not about how good the other team is afterwards; they're about how good you become.
Trading within the division is not a novel idea. After all, the Detroit Tigers have been mentioned this year on more than one occasion as hypothetical trade partners for the White Sox.
The most recent example was courtesy of the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rogers. He proposed on Wednesday that the White Sox trade almost half of their bullpen, Adam Dunn and cash for Victor Martinez, Nick Castellanos and Bruce Rondon.
Sounds good to me, Phil.
Now Hahn has referred to the pitching staff as the "nucleus of the White Sox’s" roster, according to the Tribune's Mark Gonzales. And he’s right.
Pitching trumps hitting every time, and the Sox have an outstanding staff. Seven different starting pitchers have compiled a 3.94 ERA while only surrendering 243 earned runs all season. Those stats rank fourth and first, respectively, in the AL.
And even though Peavy has been on the disabled list for some time, he is a big part of the reason the South Siders have been so successful on the mound this season.
The Sox have options for the 2014 rotation that do not rely on Peavy’s presence, though, and they desperately need offense.
Here is one rotation scenario for next year.
|Erik Johnson (AA-AAA)||R||9-2||2.24|
To be sure, any return for Peavy is entirely contingent upon how he performs in advance of the non-waiver trade deadline. The audition most likely begins this Saturday against the Atlanta Braves and Paul Maholm, according to ESPN.com's Doug Padilla.
In addition to the Braves, Peavy is in line to start next week against the Tigers and, fittingly, the Indians themselves on July 30.
All told, Peavy’s opponents before the non-waiver trade deadline are a combined 30 games over .500 entering play on Friday. If he can perform well against that competition, Peavy will dramatically increase the quality of prospects general manager Rick Hahn would be able to get in return for his services.
Stranger things have happened.