Breaking Down The Jake Peavy Trade

Hey, guys, it’s been a while. Haven’t wrote much (or anything) about the current baseball season, so I thought I’d start with a breakdown of the biggest trade from trade deadline: Jake Peavy to the Red Sox.

To preface the rest of this article, I’d like to say that Jake Peavy was one of my favorite pitchers growing up. In fact, I’m wearing his Padres t-shirt right now as I write this–it’s about two sizes too small. Wow was he dominant from ’04 to ’08. My (irrational) love for Peavy may be well docummented, but I can assure you that the rest of the article will be written with the utmost objectivity.

But back to the real news.

Underrated topic: theese White Sox jerseys need to stay. They're fantastic.

Underrated topic: these White Sox jerseys need to stay. They’re fantastic.

The Red Sox picked up Peavy and the $20 million owed to him for Jose Iglesias and A-Ball prospects Cleuluis Rondon, Frank Montas, and J.B. Wendelken. Iglesias ended up in Detroit in exchange for Avisail Garcia, and the Sawx also picked up Brayan Villarreal.

When news broke last night that the Red Sox acquired Peavy for Iglesias and others, I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It can’t just be Iglesias, right? But they wouldn’t trade him AND Jackie Bradley Jr., Anthony Ranaudo, or Will Middlebrooks for Peavy, right? What am I missing?

Iglesias and spare parts is a steal for Peavy, even if the 32-year old will never see his glory days of a 97 mph heat and a power slider.

We’ve already seen Iglesias’ peak: elite defense and a .409/.455/.530 through June fueled by an inconceivable, unsustainable .464 BABIP and 15.4% infield hit rate. To put that in perspective, Chris Johnson and Ichiro are tops in the league for the season with a .425 BABIP and 15.2% IFH%. Of course, Iggy was hit with The Great Regression in July, hitting just .205/.247/.217.

Iglesias is a good get for Detroit, who will need a shortstop when Jhonny Peralta is slapped with a 50-game Biogenesis suspension, but they should expect offense much closer to July’s production than anything else. He should hit just well enough to warrant hitting 8th in an NL lineup, but then again, he’ll make up for everything Miguel Cabrera can’t do defensively at third and then some.

Iglesias is a nice player, but a flawed one. And with shortstop Xander Bogaerts and third basemen Will Middlebrooks and Garin Cecchini already past him in prospect status, he becomes very expendable. That the Red Sox were able to acquire a very good pitcher–when healthy–for just Iglesias is a near miracle.

What’s even more funny is that the Red Sox picked up a starter for a year and a half for less than it took the Rangers to add Matt Garza–a very similar pitcher–for two plus months. And Texas won’t even be able to recoup a compensatory pick should Garza sign elsewhere, as Boston will next winter.

Mike Olt, C.J. Edwards, Justin Grimm, and (likely) Neil Ramirez are all major league contributors, and Olt and Edwards have the chance to be above-average regulars. Can you even say that about Iglesias?

Peavy may not have the dominant numbers from last year, but his peripherals look good. He has an exquisite 4.48 K/BB ratio but an unlucky 13.1% HR/FB rate, something pitchers don’t really have control of. That’s illustrated in his 3.68 xFIP compared to his 4.28 ERA to date.

Peavy’s throwing his fastball just as hard as he has the past two seasons (90.6 mph average compared to 90.7 and 90.8), although he’s throwing more two-seamers and cutters now than ever (80% of his fastballs). He’s even going to his curveball more than his slider–10.0% vs. 4.1% compared to 8.7% vs. 18.5% for his career–leading to a much less pronounced platoon split–4.13 vs. 4.05 FIP compared to 3.91 vs. 3.16 FIP for his career.

Peavy makes a very nice third starter behind Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz (assuming he’s healthy by September/October), with some combination of John Lackey, Felix Doubront, and John Lackey to round out the rotation. Boston will have a nice problem next spring with those six plus Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, and Anthony Ranaudo under contract, but a little pitching surplus never hurt anyone. Ask the formerly-pitching-deep Dodgers, who traded away their depth at the beginning of the season, only to be bit by the inevitable injury bug.

At the end of the day, the Red Sox picked up an affordable starter (they’re paying him like a 3-WAR pitcher) without giving up their most prized assets. Additionally, this trade may even encourage them to give Bogaerts a cup of coffee in preparation for an everyday job next spring.

How could this have turned out any better?

(Alright now I can take off this adult small shirt, so it’ll stop choking me)

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