They need a closer, middle relief, and righthanded power.
Meh, whatever. I don’t care.
Go get Jake Peavy.
Through three games of this week’s entertaining four-game series between the Red Sox and Rays, one thing has become abundantly clear if Boston wants to make the playoffs for the first time in four years, and it’s not exactly breaking news. Pitching.
Matt Moore, Jon Lester, and David Price have all made headlines this week due to their dominance on the mound. Offense has been at a premium during this week’s series, and oh, how refreshing it is. Yeah, yeah, Sunday night’s game against the Yankees was wicked fun, all 19 hours of it. But this? This is better.
Baseball is best in its tense, crucial moments, not offensive showdowns. We’re witnessing that this week with two of the best teams the American League has to offer. The Yankees may have gotten the hype coming out of the break, but this, despite the Sox falling in two out of the three played thus far, is the series of the year, two teams battling for first in the heat of July with even more drama on the horizon.
This will never happen, so take it with the grain of salt it’s meant to be accompanied with, but imagine this scenario: The Red Sox acquire Peavy from the Chicago White Sox, thus filling the void left to them by Clay Buchholz’s pillow debilitation. Then, have Buchholz make a few rehab starts and put him in the bullpen for a few weeks to regain his arm strength. Crazy? Sure. But we said the same thing about Curt Schilling closing back in 2005, didn’t we?
Whatever the case, Peavy is an intriguing option for the Red Sox as the July 31 trading deadline looms near. The former National Cy Young Award winner has been a longtime favorite here (despite some dispute a year back over comments made in this space about his former teammate Adrian Gonzalez) and, perhaps most importantly, has made a natural switch to the American League, something that can’t be said the same about Ryan Dempster’s trade to Texas last summer. You still have to wonder if he’s mentally into the AL based on his erratic performance. And yeah, the names “Beckett” and “Lackey” appear under his comparables, but…well, let’s ignore that for now.
It’s hard to believe that Peavy is 32, for he still seems like the potential stud he was made out to be when he cracked into the league at the age of 21. Peavy hasn’t been outstanding in his time in Chicago, but who has? The White Sox are a bumbling mess, and frankly, they owe us for snookering the Sox into Matt Thornton.
Peavy, who spent time on the disabled list this year, is only 7-4 with a 4.19 ERA for the 39-59 White Sox, but remains as the trading deadline prize to be had now that Matt Garza is off to Texas. Adding him to the mix has to be a tantalizing option for Ben Cherington, who could add to an already stable, but just OK rotation of Lackey, Felix Doubront, Jon Lester, and the hopes and wishes of Buchholz.
Insert Peavy there, and you’re talking division winner. World Series contender.
Peavy is signed through next season at $14.5 million, but don’t look at that as a deterrent, but a benefit. Maybe you can swindle the White Sox into some middling prospect, making the argument that you’ve got to carry all that salary. Whatever. The Red Sox can afford it. It’s only a matter of if the White Sox want to play ball.
According to some reports, the price tag might be Will Middlebrooks. That’s a deal I make yesterday, Monday, and two weeks back. A fringe major leaguer with a head too big for his shoulders in exchange for one of the better pitchers in the game? Oh. Yeah.
Is Middlebrooks a corner infielder of the future? Maybe. But you can find those guys a lot easier than you can find top-level starting pitching. Boston lucked out this year in regards to Lackey and Doubront. The pixie dust only lasts so long.
Peavy hurls tonight against Detroit, and Red Sox scouts will be on hand. In less than a week, the pitcher very well might change the color of his Sox.
Is he what they need desperately? Not necessarily, but since when is having a luxury a bad thing when it comes to baseball?
Now. About Buchholz….