If you made camp under the rock Thursday, you saw that the White Sox were devilishly close to a deal for Padres super-pitcher Jake Peavy. Then you saw that Peavy exercised his no-trade clause and rejected the deal. Peavy said his family is where it wants to be; I say Peavy didn’t want to pitch for a team annually ripe with turmoil and currently playing .425 baseball.
Peavy wants to pitch for a contender, and in my eyes, there isn’t a better contender out there than the Philadelphia Phillies.
Of course, it is a tough city in which to play. And the stadium doesn’t allow for pitchers to regularly succeed. And it’s not exactly an area Peavy has welcomed — he’s been known to shoot down the chance of playing for any of the five big-time East Coast teams. Still, if the offer was good, couldn’t the Phillies land Peavy? And what could that offer be?
First, let’s look at the White Sox were giving up to get Peavy: We know prospects Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard were on the table. Speculation was Lance Broadway was also out there. Another prospect wasn’t known, but it was likely a lesser prospect, though some wrote it could’ve been Gordon Beckham. Let’s look at the three known or speculated:
Poreda, 22, LHP, AA. One of Chicago’s top two prospects the last two seasons, Poreda has wicked control for a power left-hander. Very much in the Cole Hamels mode, but not at his level. More a potential setup man/closer.
Richard, 25, LHP, MLB. A second-year big-leaguer, Richard has a nice sinker and good control. This season he has moved from the bullpen to rotation, putting up fair numbers (27 IP, 4.33 ERA, 15 K, 11 BB).
Broadway, 25, RHP, MLB. Finally stabilizing himself, Broadway has been pretty good out of the Chicago bullpen. This season he’s 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA, 7 K and 7 BB in 12.2 innings. Not a lot of work. He was the Sox’ third-best prospect in 2007.
Clearly the White Sox have promising young arms, and that’s what it would take to land Peavy. Poreda is a nice prospect and could become a standout mid-level starter or back-end reliever. Richard is a nice back-rotation piece, and Broadway could be a successful reliever. The Phillies can match this:
Carlos Carrasco, JA Happ, Antonio Bastardo.
Carrasco, 22, is having a rough season in triple-A, but he’s been successful everywhere else with good strikeout rates. To me, he’s definitely a big-league pitcher when he’s ready, and he’s almost ready. Like Poreda, he projects as a mid-rotation piece or back-bullpen guy, likely being better than an innings eater.
Happ, 26, is rotation-ready, and he’s starting Saturday. He’s proven himself through a few big-league seasons, now hurling a 2.49 ERA with 17 K and 9 BB in 21.2 innings this season. Like Richard he has a good breaking pitch and good control.
Bastardo is like Broadway in that he’s an overpowering reliever. Bastardo could start, of course, but he projects even better against left-handed hitting alone. His strikeout rates are great, his ERA has been ridiculous. At 23, it’s possible Bastardo is ready for a call north now.
I could see if the White Sox wanted lefty Kyle Drabek (who seems closer to Poreda in level and potential), but that might make the Phils’ pot too great. The bottom line is the Phillies have the chips to trade for Jake Peavy, at least without knowing the value of the fourth chip.
Pull The Trigger?
Would I pull that trigger? Maybe — it would clearly gut pitching depth in the system, but it immediately solidifies a horrible rotation and positions the Phillies as the clear National League favorite at a time when the Phils are only looking to win championships. Then again, Peavy has been taxed already in his career (more than 1,300 innings, and only at age 28). And remember, the Phils don’t have a pick in this year’s draft until the 70s.
In short, Ruben Amaro Jr. would have to be damn confident in his big-league team to win a second-consecutive championship. It would be a clear-cut win-now move.