The San Francisco Giants made a somewhat shocking move early yesterday morning by acquiring Jake Peavy. It was known that the Giants were in on him, but very few people thought that a guy with a 1-9 record and a 4.72 ERA would be an upgrade in their rotation. However, the Giants feel differently. Are they right, and what will Peavy’s impact be?
There’s no doubt the Giants need help in their starting rotation. Matt Cain’s on the disabled list with bone spurs in his elbow, and even when he has pitched this season he has not been good. His replacement, Yusmeiro Pettit, can only go four inning or about 70 pitches until he implodes. That’s why the Giants got Peavy. They feel his skill set fits really well in AT&T Park, because he’s had success in the National League West and was one the best pitcher in the National League with the San Diego Padres.
Another thing prompting the move was Peavy’s relationship with Bruce Bochy. He was Peavy’s manager for the Padres and when asked about him before yesterday’s game he gushed about him like you’d expect. It’s no surprise Bochy is happy to reunite with Peavy as he was 92-68 with a 3.29 ERA as the Padres ace.
The downside of this move however is that the Giants gave away two of their top prospects for a guy that may not be on the team next season, as Peavy’s a unrestricted free agent after this season. The Giants are hoping that Peavy can give them a minimum of 8-10 quality starts and help them in their postseason run. Whether or not he can is up for debate as his performance this year has not been impressive.
There were better options on the market than Peavy; namely David Price and Bartolo Colon. In order to get David Price the Giants would have to give up the entire farm system, half of their starters and possibly a World Series Ring. Bartolo Colon’s contract was something the Giants didn’t want to take on even though he’s a better pitcher than Peavy this season. It is noted that Peavy had poor run support as Boston’s offense didn’t score runs when he pitched and his record should be better. It’s possible that getting a fresh start back in the National League where he’s had success before is just what he needs.
The two prospects that Giants had to give up were big ones. Edwin Escobar, a promising young pitcher, and Heath Hembree, who for the longest time was thought of as the closer of the future. Both were seen as potential impact pitchers for the Giants, however both underachieved this season and the Giants felt like they were expendable. The Giants farm system is weak anyway so for them to get rid of two of their top prospects shows that they either have faith in the other guys in the system or they trust that Peavy will get them over the hump this season.
Escobar had been impressive as a Giants pitcher. Last year between single- A San Jose and Double AA Richmond he was 8-8 with a 2.80 ERA and 1.10 WHIP. The season before that he was 7-8 a 2.96 ERA and a 1.17 WHIP at single A Augusta. However, his stuff underwhelmed in the spring and he was getting abused at the Triple A level, so maybe the Giants felt that he wasn’t going to pan out the way they expected him too.
When the Giants drafted Hembree in 2010 he was seen as the closer of the future. He had a 95-96 mph faster at the time he was drafted. However, he struggled with command and took a lot off of his fastball. When he made his debut with the Giants last season he was hitting 92 instead of 96. The Giants have many talented relievers in their system, which made Hembree expendable.
This is a risky trade as Peavy has not been good this season, however it’s a low-risk, high reward kind of trade. Peavy will start today against the Dodgers, which is the right team for him to begin with as a Giant since he owns them with a 14-2 career record while also sporting a 2.21 ERA. The Giants need him to have a great start as they’ve gotten clobbered the first two games of the series. Peavy will get a lot of opportunities to show that he was worth the investment. The first opportunity is tonight.