Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Peavy Perfect Fit

The Red Sox made a trading deadline splash by acquiring Peavy
Boston Red Sox GM Ben Cherington bolstered his starting rotation today via a three-way trade that brings Jake Peavy to Beantown and sends Jose Iglesias to Motown.

This is a great move for the Sox, who don't expect Clay Buchholz to return until September and needed another arm for their playoff push. Peavy, an All-Star last year, is 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA over 13 starts so far in 2013. He solidifies a formidable rotation that already features Jon Lester, John Lackey, Ryan Dempster, and Felix Doubront, pushing rookie Brandon Workman into the bullpen.

Age and injuries have taken their toll on the 32 year-old's arm and velocity in recent years. While he's no longer the Cy Young-caliber starter he was half a decade ago, he's still an above average hurler who can make a difference down the stretch. Peavy's posted stellar peripherals to date, including a 4.47 K/BB ratio (the best mark of his career), and 1.14 WHIP. His 8.6 K/9 rate is the highest it's been since 2009, and his 3.68 xFIP is right in line with his career mark of 3.65. With better luck, his ERA could easily be half a run lower.

Credit Cherington for netting a strong return in Peavy without having to surrender much in the way of prospects: three so-so guys, none of whom are named Xander Bogaerts or Jackie Bradley Jr. The club won't miss Iglesias, either, even though he's one of the best defenders around and was hitting .330 at the time of the trade. The simple truth is that Iglesias, who has no power whatsoever and is slumping badly (.216/.250/.225 since June 26th), isn't a capable major league hitter and probably never will be. If he was, John Farrell wouldn't be batting him ninth. With Bogaerts and possibly Will Middlebrooks waiting in the wings, Iglesias was expendable with trade value that might never be higher. Cherington was smart to deal him while his numbers were still inflated by his .376 (and falling) BABiP.

There are two more things I like about this deal. The first is that Peavy, who is under contract for next year, isn't merely a two month rental. Barring injury, he'll play a prominent role with the Sox in 2014. The second is that the departure of Iglesias creates a vacancy at third base. Normally that would be a bad thing, but in this case it opens the door for Bogaerts to join the big club in the near future. The 20 year-old phenom has been hitting well with Pawtucket (.854 OPS) and deserves a crack at the Show.

No offense to Brock Holt, but hopefully Cherington doesn't make Bogaerts wait much longer.

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