For the first time since 2009, Jake Peavy is headed back to the National League, and he’ll be in the same division he was before in the NL West.
That’s because on Saturday the San Francisco Giants pulled off a trade to acquire the 2007 NL Cy Young winner from the reigning World Champion Boston Red Sox. After reeling off 7 out of 8 victories, Boston has now dropped four in a row and it looks like the team is going the seller’s route. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports said it’s official that Peavy would be traded to the Giants in exchange for Minor League pitching. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and MLB Network reported via Twitter Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree are the two Minor Leaguers Boston is receiving in return. Rosenthal was also the first to disclose the two teams were nearing a deal. Hembree was briefly up last year as a September call up, but so far at Triple-A Fresno in 2014, neither he nor Escobar were having the most spectacular seasons.
2014 has not been kind at all to Peavy. Wins and losses don’t tell the whole story, but Peavy would probably wish his record was better than 1-9. That’s not all, though. His ERA+ is 83 and his WHIP is 1.427. His 20 home runs dished up was leading the American League at the time of his trade. In his career at AT&T Park, Peavy has pitched 87.2 inning, posted a 3.90 ERA and has a WHIP of 1.323.
Though San Francisco is clearly buying and is hoping to hold off the Los Angeles Dodgers, whom they lead by a half a game in the division, is this the best move for them? Peavy was a trade deadline acquisition for Boston last season, but in his career doesn’t have the most impressive postseason numbers. On the plus, he was effective against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 4 of last year’s ALDS and got the win. He also pitched respectably in a no decision in last year’s Game 3 of the World Series. The other postseason starts in his career, however, have been very ugly. In last year’s ALCS Game 4 vs. the Detroit Tigers, Peavy took the loss in allowing 7 runs, all earned. The St. Louis Cardinals also had his number when he was a Padre. The two teams met in the NLDS in 2005 and 2006 in which Peavy surrendered a combined 13 earned runs.
If there’s one pitcher Peavy should try to channel with his new team, it’s Barry Zito, another former Cy Young winner who had a lot of troubles later on. Zito played a key part in helping the Giants win the World Series two years ago. He blanked the Cardinals in Game 5 of that year’s NLCS and was the winning pitcher against Detroit in Game 1 of that year’s World Series. Zito would go back to having a hard time last season and is now without a team, but even though he didn’t perform well against the Cincinnati Reds in the NLDS in 2012, what he did after that in the playoffs was crucial to San Francisco celebrating its second World Series title in three years. Peavy could possibly be that for the Giants what Zito was before.
There is upside for the Giants acquiring Peavy, but in doing so, this team is also taking a big risk.
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