BOSTON — Red Sox manager John Farrell said before Tuesday’s game that he was comfortable with his team’s rotation. But adding a former Cy Young winner to the mix doesn’t hurt, right?
The Red Sox announced shortly after Tuesday’s game that they had acquired Jake Peavy from the White Sox as part of a three-team, seven-player deal that also involved the Tigers. Boston acquired Detroit reliever Brayan Villarreal in addition to Peavy, and it shipped out Jose Iglesias and minor leaguers J.B. Wendelken, Francelis Montas and Cleuluis Rondon.
Peavy will help stabilize a Red Sox rotation that has been without Clay Buchholz since June 8. The 32-year-old might not be the same pitcher he was when he won the NL Cy Young as a member of the Padres back in 2007, but he has a proven track record and could thrive while playing in a competitive market like Boston.
“He’s an intense competitor, loves to pitch,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “He’s got a good assortment of stuff, a fastball with a ton of life. He’s always had a ton of life on his fastball, along with a really good slider and changeup. He throws strikes. He attacks hitters. He loves to pitch.
“I think that he’ll fit in nicely with the group that we have, and he’s obviously been very successful in his career. He’s won a Cy Young, All-Star, all those things, and we’re just expecting him to give us a chance to win every time he goes out, and I think he’ll fit in nicely with the rest of the guys in our rotation and in the clubhouse.”
By acquiring Peavy, Cherington accomplished exactly what he set out to do. The Red Sox identified starting pitching as their primary need leading up to the trade deadline, and, in Peavy, Boston acquired a starter who is under team control beyond this season. Peavy is owed $14 million in 2014 and has a $15 million conditional option for 2015. That control was important to the Red Sox, especially since they considered Iglesias to be a long-term asset.
Iglesias landed in Detroit as part of the deal. The Red Sox, who struggled to find a match with the White Sox before the Tigers entered the equation, initially acquired outfielder Avisail Garcia from Detroit in exchange for Iglesias before flipping Garcia and the three minor leaguers to Chicago for Peavy. The Tigers needed a shortstop because of the uncertainty surrounding Jhonny Peralta, who is connected to the Biogenesis clinic, and the Red Sox found that they had good organizational depth at the position.
“We certainly didn’t go into this July looking or expecting to trade Jose, but we felt like, given the strength at that position in the organization — with Stephen Drew obviously our everyday shortstop in Boston right now and the guys we have coming behind him in the minor leagues — it was a relative area of strength to deal from, and if we could get the starting pitcher that we really wanted, ultimately it probably made sense to do the deal,” Cherington said. “And as it relates to third base, we’ll have, I’m sure, a move for [Wednesday], we’ll add an infielder. We feel like we have some talent at the Triple-A level that can help us at that position the rest of the way. We’re not going to announce anything on that end. We’ll focus on this deal first.”
Peavy, who joins Boston with an 8-4 record and 4.28 ERA in 13 starts, missed time this season with a fractured rib, but Cherington said that he’s comfortable with where the veteran pitcher is at physically. Meanwhile, Buchholz continues to progress, although it’s clear that his absence played a role in Boston’s trade deadline approach.
“The situation with Clay, we’ve been aware of for a while,” Cherington said. “Certainly it’s been a factor to some degree in our discussions with other teams. We still expect Clay to come back and be in our rotation, and we just felt again that the most important thing we could do to protect the team and give the team every chance to be strong over the last couple of months was to bolster the rotation, and considering when [Buchholz] does come back, we’ll be even better at that point.”
The Red Sox might not have been desperate for a starter, but they certainly could have used one. Acquiring Peavy shows just how serious Boston is about contending this season.