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My Thoughts On The Jake Peavy Trade

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My Thoughts On The Jake Peavy Trade
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

The Sox had the surprise move of the trade deadline when they finally competed the deal for Jake Peavy that they tried to make back in May.

I have a number of thoughts on this deal that are quite varied. In general I like the deal, but I don't like everything about it. I'll break it down into several categories. The organization may seem a bit weird, so bear with me.

 

The timing of this deal was quite strange.

Obviously it had to happen today, but the way things worked out were still quite strange for a number of reasons.

First off, Peavy is currently on the disabled list and probably won't pitch until at least late August. So why did it happen now and not two weeks ago?

The last major news concerning Jake's injury was released on the 17th, when he had the protective boot removed from his foot.

Did the Sox get better news from another source that we didn't know about? Or did it come down to Peavy finally agreeing to the trade after he had been sitting for a while?

Secondly, Clayton Richard leaves in the deal. He was scheduled to start tonight's game, which obviously won't happen now. DJ Carrasco will fill in for him, and there's no real indication of who will take the rest of the starts until Peavy is healthy.

Whatever the reasons, it actually hurts the Sox until he returns because it leaves them a starter short. I would assume they'll tweak their roster to try to limit the number of appearances the fill-in starter has to make.

 

What the Sox gave up

The package is very similar to what the Sox initially offered. Poreda and Richard were both a part of the first deal, but the rumored minor leaguers were Dan Hudson and Lance Broadway.

It seems that despite his injury, his value didn't change much. In both cases the minor leaguers comprise one legitimate prospect and another arm less likely to make an impact. It seems strange that the Padres would still be able to get that kind of value, but the injury obviously didn't bother the Sox too much.

On paper, it looks like the Sox paid a fairly high price. Poreda and Carter are both highly rated prospects, and Richard is obviously a starter at the major league level.

For some strange reason Poreda had been riding the bench a lot in the majors, and Richard has been up and down. Carter has been dominant in low-A Kanapolis and Russell has been similarly good in Charlotte, though he's also 26 already.

I'm personally not particularly worried about Poreda coming back to bite the Sox. While he has been highly successful in his professional career thus far, I'm not confident that he will be a legitimate major league starter. His secondary stuff definitely needs some work, and when I've seen him his fastball didn't have as much zip as advertised.

However, I would imagine he'll get every shot to start in San Diego.

Richard should thrive in San Diego. The move to the National League as well as the change to a favorable pitcher's park should help his stats considerably. If he can keep his walks down, he has a chance to do something similar to what Javier Vazquez has done in Atlanta. That doesn't change the fact that he was an inconsistent performer for the Sox though, and he likely wouldn't have as much value for us.

The major wildcard in this is Dexter Carter. Though he's not particularly close to the majors at the moment, he has electric stuff and could make a major difference for the Padres.

If he can improve his command and/or find another pitch to complement his fastball and curve as he ascends, he has a chance to be a good starter. He could also end up as an elite reliever.

I really think Carter's development will determine how good this deal is for the Padres. If he does work out they will get two contributing starting pitchers, if he doesn't I think they're probably looking at one good starter and a lefty reliever in Poreda.

Obviously the former looks a lot better for them.

 

What does it mean for the Sox?

The size of the impact of this trade for 2009 depends on when Peavy can get back on the mound and how effective he is when he returns.

From what I'm reading right now, it seems that the earliest he could return is late August, with some time in September being more likely. If that's the case, the Sox will have to stay in the hunt for his starts to matter.

If they can stay within striking distance, Jake has the potential to make a big difference. He has great stuff and can dominate a lineup when he's on top of his game. If they can make the post season, his potential impact will be even greater. 

I doubt that we'll see his sub-3.00 ERA level performance that he had in San Diego. It's been well documented that he pitches much better in Petco, which is a cavernous home park that helps the pitchers. He'll also have to deal with lineups feature the DH, another change that should hurt his performance.

However, he's still talented enough to put up an ERA below 4.00, which would be a huge boost to the Sox rotation. Only 25 starters in the AL have an ERA in that range right now, and you can debate how many of them will likely finish there.

The real impact of this deal will come in 2010 and beyond. Because this wasn't an arm injury, it's reasonable to expect that Peavy's future performance will not be seriously affected by the injury.

Assuming that they get Jake Peavy at his best, their rotation will be a force to be reckoned with. He would form one of the best 1-2 punches in the league with Mark Buehrle, and John Danks and Gavin Floyd would be arguably the most talented third and fourth starters in baseball. That rotation gives them the potential to be a serious contender.

However, it remains to be seen how this trade will affect the finances of the Sox. Peavy's deal averages $16 million over the next three seasons. The Sox can afford it with the number of expiring contracts they have this off-season, but they'll also have to fill some holes.

Jermaine Dye, Jim Thome, Jose Contreras and Octavio Dotel will all be free agents. They will all likely have to take paycuts to return, which is tough to assume. How many, if any of them will be back? And how much of the available money to replace them will be absorbed by the Peavy acquisition?

After the trade, the Sox will have about $60 million in committed payroll for 2010. That does not include any arbitration totals, which will probably add at least $10 million more (possibly that much just with Bobby Jenks and John Danks). That means that while they appear to have some flexibility, they may find it difficult to add one or more impact players to replace the out-going players.

The production of some of their young offensive players will probably determine what they can do. If Carlos Quentin can get over his injury and come anywhere close to what he did in 2008, life will be far easier for the Sox.

If that happens, they can afford to take a chance on an affordable free agent or two like they did with Jermaine Dye in 2005. However, if they have to find a number three or number four hitter on the open market, they could have problems.

Players like Jordan Danks, Tyler Flowers and Chris Getz can also make things a lot easier for the Sox if they perform.

 

Overall, it looks like the Sox made a deal that will help them contend. If Peavy can avoid any setbacks, they should have one of the strongest rotations in the league for the next several years.

However, they could still have holes to fill at other spots on the diamond. It will be important to make sure that the bullpen and offense are solid so we don't waste the production from the rotation.

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