With the emergence of both Brandon Workman and Rubby De La Rosa, and the shortcomings of Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront, there are some dominoes still to fall for the Boston Red Sox.
As it currently stands, they have seven starting pitchers for five spots. Jon Lester, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz are all locks, leaving the rest of the names in a jumbled heap.
Boston has stated their desires to quit bouncing Workman back and forth from bullpen to rotation at the triple-A and MLB levels. He is getting the start tonight in the Bronx, so it appears he might be the fourth name solidified into the rotation. And Rubby De La Rosa (2-2, 2.51 ERA) has thrown the ball well enough to make things interesting.
I think the Red Sox want to get those two young guys involved in the rotation on a permanent basis, but to do so, they are going to need to shed either Felix Doubront or Jake Peavy in a trade. The only deals that would make sense would involve Boston picking up an outfielder, preferably right handed, and preferably one without a long term contract attached.
Let’s drum up the trade rumors:
God, help us all if we have to keep Peavy for the rest of the year.
Making $16 million, Peavy is 1-6 with an ERA nearing five. He hasn’t won a game since April 25, and he’s allowed four or more earned runs in 7 out of his 16 starts on the year.
His walk percentage (8.8) is his highest since his first full year in the bigs back in 2003, and his fastball velocity has diminished all the way down to an average of 89.5 mph. His stuff simply isn’t there anymore. The swings and misses aren’t there anymore. The Peavy of old is gone.
Like most pitchers who lose velocity for whatever reason (See: CC Sabathia, Tim Lincecum), there is an adjustment period that has to be made. When your heater can no longer hold its own, you have to start becoming more of a pitcher, rather than just a thrower. You have to rely on control and secondary pitchers more, because if not, you end up tossing an 88 mph meatball that even a minor leaguer could absolutely crush.
Right now, Peavy is in that transition period.
But he’s still a veteran arm that carries ample value to the right team. I doubt any club in the American League would be interested, however, there are a few National League teams that come to mind that would love Peavy’s service.
The Atlanta Braves lost pitchers Brandon Beachy and Kris Medlen to Tommy John surgery early in the year. One of their replacements, Gavin Floyd, just fractured his pitching elbow last week. And while they still have a solid rotation in tact despite all of that, one more injury to a starter could derail any playoff hopes they might have.
The problem is that they don’t have the right players to offer Boston in a deal. The only outfielder they have that they would seemingly be willing to move is B.J. Upton — whose outlandish contract is wanted by no man.
Another team that could be in the Peavy sweepstakes is the St. Louis Cardinals.
Much like the Braves, they have also encountered the injury bug in their starting rotation. Michael Wacha suffered a stress fracture in his pitching shoulder and his return is uncertain. Jaime Garcia is also on the DL with a shoulder injury, leaving the Cardinals in a vulnerable position as they try to catch the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central.
However, unlike the Braves, they have plenty to offer as far as outfield hitting goes.
With the right package, the Sox might be able to acquire right fielder Allen Craig from St. Louis. It’s probably unlikely given he just signed a five-year contract extension last March, but the Red Sox have the right pieces–Peavy and certain expendable prospects — to make it work.
The other name that pops up is outfielder Jon Jay. A career .293 hitter, Jay is a versatile player who could instantly improve the Red Sox’ outfield situation. Even though he is a lefty, Jay’s ability to hit both right and left handers is a plus. Add that to his one-year, $3.25 million contract, and he is exactly the type of inexpensive player Ben Cherington would go after.
Wherever he goes, Boston is going to have to eat up some of his $16 million to make any type of realistic deal work.
Whether or not the Red Sox are going to be buyers or sellers at the deadline is unclear. But the young talent is in place and ready to take over should they start churning out some of the veterans that aren’t working out. Peavy is one of those veterans, and with De La Rosa ready to step in, I wouldn’t expect him to hang around much longer.
Visit the Boston Red Sox team page for more news and opinions and be sure to check out my article later this weekend on some prospects Boston needs to bring up right now.