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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Boston Red Sox Trade of Jake Peavy is Savvy Move

The Boston Red Sox completed a trade this weekend, sending starting pitcher Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for minor league left-handed starter Edwin Escobar and right-handed reliever Heath Hembree.

While both prospects acquired by Boston have modest ceilings, the move was a smart one in terms of baseball business. By all accounts, Peavy, who had been acquired in a separate trade last summer, is an outstanding guy and an excellent teammate. Heck, the former National League Cy Young winner even purchased a duck boat in the aftermath of Boston winning the 2013 World Series riding the unique vehicles down the streets of Beantown.

Baseball is a game of sentiment but is primarily a game of dollars and cents. Although Peavy may have immediately become a respected part of the tapestry of the Red Sox mystique, smart management made his departure inevitable.

The 33-year-old veteran is being paid $14 million in the final year of a long-term deal. Boston will apparently pay approximately half of the remaining $5 million he is set to earn, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney. With Boston in a season-long funk and sitting in last place in the American League East, this combined with a lack of production make his trade a sound move.

Once one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball, Peavy pitched like a back-end starter during his time in Boston, combining for a 5-10 record and 4.48 ERA in 30 regular season starts. Here’s how some of his other numbers with the Red Sox broke down:

  • ·        He allowed 26 home runs in his 30 starts, including an American League 20 this season at the time of his trade.
  • ·        The team was just 1-12 in his last 13 starts, though to be fair the lineup scored just 37 runs in those contests.
  • ·         The struggling Boston offense seemed to save its worst performances for Peavy starts, as they scored two or fewer runs nine of the 20 times he took the mound this season.
  • ·         It appeared his stuff was starting to fail him a bit, as his average fastball velocity dipped under 90 MPH this season for the first time since his rookie season in 2002, according to Additionally, his 4.81 FIP is his highest mark since 2003, and his 1.43 WHIP would be a career-worst.
  • ·         After a strong April that saw him go 1-0 with a 2.87 ERA in five starts, he had been 0-9 with a 5.50 ERA in 15 starts since.

The reports on Hembree and Escobar indicate they have the talent and polish to get a chance to pitch at the major league level. Whether they will be able to stay and contribute is another matter. However, being able to squeeze some value out of a declining pitcher with a heftier salary is a boon that should be applauded by fans. Peavy is a stand-up professional who has had an outstanding career, but on this team in desperate need of an overhaul, he wound needing to go.

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