Jake Peavy Could Improve Red Sox’ Rotation, But Potential Impact Not Enough to Mortgage Future Over

Jake PeavyThe Red Sox’ starting rotation isn’t the same without Clay Buchholz. But it’s nothing to sneeze at, either, and the Red Sox have to keep that in mind while scouring a thin trade market.

Jake Peavy has replaced Matt Garza, who was dealt to the Rangers, as the most talked about pitcher on the trade market, and the Red Sox have been at the forefront of the deadline chatter. Peavy would almost certainly boost the Red Sox’ pitching staff, especially with Buchholz still sidelined, but dealing for the veteran right-hander only makes sense if the price is reasonable in terms of prospects.

There’s no denying that Peavy is an effective big league pitcher when healthy. The problem is that health hasn’t always been a guarantee. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite. Peavy started 32 games in 2012 — and was named an All-Star — but he failed to notch 20 starts in any of the previous three seasons. He also missed time this year because of a fractured rib, so although he’s healthy now, there are inevitably going to be questions about his durability down the stretch. That’s hardly an ideal scenario.

But let’s assume that Peavy stays healthy. How much of an upgrade would he be to the Red Sox’ current rotation? Surely, he’d improve the unit, but we’re not talking about the same pitcher who dominated in the National League from 2004 to 2008. Peavy, who is 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA, is more of a middle-of-the-rotation guy at this point, and adding that type of pitcher isn’t worth surrendering a hefty package of prospects, even with Buchholz in limbo.

Brandon Workman has pitched well since joining the major league club, and although John Farrell said recently that the Red Sox’ trade deadline approach doesn’t hinge on the performance of Workman, it’s still something to factor into the equation. The Red Sox might be able to weather the storm until Buchholz gets back if Workman continues to pitch like a viable big league option. Plus, the Red Sox have some other starters who are on the cusp of reaching the majors and another, Drake Britton, who is currently pitching out of Boston’s bullpen.

If the White Sox ultimately decide that getting rid of Peavy’s contract is worth taking a lesser package, then the Red Sox should absolutely consider putting something together. Peavy is owed $14.5 million in 2014 and has a vesting option for 2015, and the Red Sox are in a position where they can absorb that type of contract. But if Chicago wants major league ready pitching in return, as reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney, then Boston might eventually need to walk away from the bargaining table.

Peavy is a good pitcher and, by all accounts, a good clubhouse guy. He’s no longer a front-line starter, though, so acquiring him might simply stir the pot rather than improve the overall recipe.

Have a question for Ricky Doyle? Send it to him via Twitter at @TheRickyDoyle or send it here.

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