If you’re like me, your first thoughts upon seeing that Jake Peavy is on the verge of being sent to the Chicago White Sox were, “Whoa! A big time deal! Early in the season for that!” followed by “Well, there’s no reason to keep Adrian Gonzalez too, I guess,” and finally, “Geez, without Peavy and Gonzalez that team might win 30 games.” (Yes, some are now calling it unlikely to be completed. Regardless, this doesn’t change my opinion).
Here’s what I did not think: “Hey, the Dodgers could use an ace starter, so why isn’t he coming to LA?” The reason is this: you do not want Jake Peavy.
First of all, he’s just not as good as people think he is. That’s not to say he’s bad, not at all, but is he really worth the money and talent it’d take to get him? I was going to go through a whole thing of exploring his home/road splits, but Dave Cameron over at FanGraphs already has it explained:
For his career, Peavy has a 3.73 K/BB rate at Petco, and he’s allowed one home run every 56.3 plate appearances while pitching at home. On the road, his K/BB is 2.54, and he allows one home run every 30.8 plate appearances. The vast expanse of the outfield in San Diego not only turns long fly balls into outs, but it allows Peavy to be more aggressive with his pitch selection and challenge hitters with pitches he can’t get away with in stadiums that aren’t as forgiving. Away from Petco, hitters have put up a .245/.316/.419 line against him, which certainly isn’t bad, but also isn’t ace-like.
Here’s the real take-home quote from that piece, though:
If I was a White Sox fan, I’d be hoping Peavy nukes this deal.
Jake Peavy, outside of Petco: good, but not great; and smart baseball fans shouldn’t want their team to give up a ton of talent for him. Keep this in mind, because it’s about to become very important, as I answer your other question, which is why I’m turning a Padres/White Sox trade rumor into a Dodger discussion. The reason for that is… Ned Colletti & Kevin Towers have had discussions recently over what it’d take to get Peavy to Los Angeles – and hold on to your pants.
Thanks to Harpo over at the BBWC for pointing me in the direction of today’s edition of the Dan Patrick Show, in which Ned admitted that he’d talked to Towers in the last month about it. Towers’ asking price? Three members of the Dodgers 25-man roster, plus “a strong prospect”.
What, exactly, does that mean? I think it’s safe to assume that Chad Billingsley isn’t part of the conversation, because he’s better than Peavy is right now. Obviously Russell Martin can’t be moved, and the Padres would have no interest in veterans like Rafael Furcal, Orlando Hudson, Casey Blake, Juan Pierre, etc. But three guys off the 25-man? Is that something along the lines of Clayton Kershaw, Matt Kemp, & Ramon Troncoso? Or perhaps Scott Elbert, depending on when the conversation took place? And then a “strong prospect” meaning… Andrew Lambo? Ivan DeJesus? Blake DeWitt?
Plus, don’t forget the money. Peavy is owed $52m between 2010-12, which isn’t all that bad, but there’s also a $22 million 2013 option, which you have to imagine he’d insist upon being picked up in order to approve any deal.
So, yeah, I’d like to see the Dodgers get a top starting pitcher this summer, and I like that Colletti is at least doing his due diligence. But for what it sounds like Peavy is going to cost, and for a pitcher who’s half as good away from his home field… no thanks.