In what will almost certainly be the first of many trade deadline moves for the sinking ship that is the Boston Red Sox, they have agreed on a deal with San Francisco that will send Jake Peavy to the Giants in return for minor-league pitchers Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar.
After going full on Bizarro Jerry the other night in Toronto with a season-high 14 runs, Boston was riding high and had many doubting whether or not they should in fact be sellers. But all that quickly changed once the Sox dropped their next four games and looked up to find themselves in the basement of the AL East with 10.5 games to make up.
Peavy, who was acquired by Boston last July at the deadline, was an integral part of the Red Sox’ championship run in 2013. I mean, hell, he even endeared himself to Sox fans for life by buying that ridiculous duck boat — a $75,000 investment mind you.
But even all that could not prevent the inevitable from going down.
Peavy hasn’t been all that sharp this season (1-9, 4.72) and is not signed for next year. Boston is headed for mediocrity and have a bevy of young arms (Brandon Workman, Ruby De La Rosa, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo) that they want to get a look at. Do the math.
The Giants are what the Red Sox were last year: a confident team looking for that one piece to fill a hole and put them over the top. For them, Jake Peavy was the answer, and they were willing to part ways with two talented prospects to get him.
Let’s take a look at who the Red Sox received:
The 6-foot-1 left-handed pitcher is a product of Venezuela and was rated as the 56 best prospect by Baseball America at the beginning of 2014.
His repertoire consists of a solid fastball (92 MPH), a change-up (82 MPH) and a curveball(75 MPH), all of which he can throw for strikes. He features a smooth, repeatable delivery and has displayed above-average control throughout his minor league career (528 K/177 BB).
Last season between Single-A San Jose and Double-A Richmond, Escobar posted phenomenal numbers as a starter: 128.2 IP, 2.80 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 146 SO, 30 BB, 10.2 K/9.
The Giants were extremely high on the 22-year-old Escobar, who was thought to be the first man in line if a starter went down, but he’s struggled so far in 2014 at the Triple-A level. In 111 innings pitched, Escobar has a nasty (as in bad) 5.11 ERA with opponents hitting .281.
Still, he’s got really good strikeout stuff with sharp movement on nearly everything he throws. He probably needs a little bit more seasoning down at the Triple-A level before he’s ready to burst onto the MLB scene.
Boston has an abundance of young starting pitching, so it remains to be seen whether or not they will leave Escobar in a starting role. My guess is they do and let him continue to develop.
Ceiling: 2nd or 3rd starter
Even though Escobar is considered to be the prized catch in the trade, Heath Hembree is no joke, and could even see time in Boston’s bullpen right away.
Rated the seventh best prospect in the Giants’ farm system, Hembree is a hard-throwing right-handed reliever with closer stuff. His fastball tops out around 96 MPH, and his slider ranges anywhere from 82-86 MPH.
In 39.1 innings with Triple-A Fresno this season, Hembree has a 3.89 ERA with 18 saves and 46 punch outs. If you haven’t already guessed, he is definitely a strikeout pitcher. He’s averaged 11.23 K/9 throughout his minor league career, and had 12 K’s in 7.2 innings last year for the Giants in his brief stint in the majors.
Two pitches is all you really need to be a successful late-innings reliever or closer and Hembree has them. This guy is major league ready right now and could prove to be a nice piece to Boston’s bullpen moving forward. (It’s worth nothing Hembree isn’t eligible for arbitration until 2017, cheers for a cheap closer).
Ceiling: Dominant major league closer
As sad as it is to see Jake Peavy actually leave, this thing is far from over: Mike Carp has already requested a trade; teams have a lot of eyes on relievers Andrew Miller and Koji Uehara; Jonny Gomes is being looked at by the Kansas City Royals; and, oh yeah, if Jon Lester gets traded I will lose my shit.
So prepare yourselves everyone, the selling has begun.
Visit the Boston Red Sox team page for more articles and opinions and check back tomorrow to see my piece on whether or not Ben Cherington will pull the trigger on Andrew Miller.