Jake Peavy is not the ace he once was. He had a 3.25 ERA from 2002-08 and it has jumped to 4.00 since. He also has had numerous physical issues since 2008.
But Peavy represented two important things to the Red Sox: The chance to get better right away and to retain his services into next season. This is not a quick fix, it's part of building a team.
You can also make a case, as Dave Cameron of FanGraphs.com did that Peavy is a better pickup than Matt Garza.
The offshoots of this trade are significant, too:
• The Sox are protected if Clay Buchholz can't pitch this season. If he does, then the Red Sox will have some good decisions to make with their rotation. There is no such thing as having too many starters.
• Rookie Brandon Workman, so strong in three starts, could be an impact arm in the bullpen. The Red Sox badly need righthanded help in the late innings.
• No more worrying about that logjam at shortstop. Now the road is clear for Xander Bogaerts in 2014 and beyond. He says he wants to play shortstop. Here's his chance.
If Bogaerts does outgrow shortstop, the Red Sox have Deven Marreo, Tzu-Wei Lin and Jose Vinicio further down the ranks.
• Will Middlebrooks has a new lease on life with the Sox. It's easy to forget he is only 24 and was rushed to the majors last season. His righthanded power could be significant down the stretch.
Cherington did not say who was coming up on Wednesday. But Middlebrooks has to feel better about his future than he did a few hours ago.
• The astonishing defense of Jose Iglesias will be missed. His play at shortstop in years to come would certainly have been helpful as Dustin Pedroia ages. But the Red Sox sold high here. Iglesias' offensive statistics were inflated by some fantastically good fortune in June. He leaves the Red Sox having collected five hits in his last 43 at-bats.
And, come on, it's the Red Sox. They love trading shortstops. Iggy joins Nomar Garciaparra, Jed Lowrie, Mike Aviles, Orlando Cabrera, Marco Scutaro, Julio Lugo and Edgar Renteria in the long line of shortstops traded since 2004.
• Finally, this trade will be treated like Christmas morning in the clubhouse. The Red Sox are a tight team that is enjoying the heck out of this season. Adding a popular, accomplished veteran starter like Peavy will be unanimously praised.
The Red Sox will get an emotional lift from this deal. With only 54 games left to play, it comes at just the right time.