Jan
09

Get well soon, Jake Peavy

By

Peavy leaving the game. Check out that kid in the stands. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)

On July 6th, 2010 Jake Peavy threw a 94 mph fastball off the outside corner to Mike Napoli.  He then grimaced in pain, held his pitching arm awkwardly, and took himself out of the game.  You can see the video of his injury here.  Peavy had detached his lattisimus dorsi, a broad muscle in the back, and soon underwent season-ending surgery to reattach the muscle.  At the time Will Carroll described his injury accordingly:

Peavy has pulled the muscle out at the insertion. That’s the point where it connects to the upper arm, as seen here. It’s not the best comparison, but if you’ve ever broken down a chicken, this is very similar, though obviously there’s a size (and species) difference. It’s the same kind of muscles and tendons that are pulled apart when taking the wings off before adding the delicious sauce.

Despite the gravity of the injury, Peavy’s surgery went well.  Nearly two months later Carroll updated readers on the status of Peavy’s injury, saying:

Remember when Peavy tore the muscle off the bone in his shoulder? He had the surgery back in early July and he’s making good progress. While he’s a ways off from throwing, he’s been cleared to begin a more involved rehab process including lifting weights and range of motion. Peavy is on track to be on a “normal” throwing program in January leading up to spring training.

The latest update, via CBSSports.com, is that Peavy is on track to begin a throwing program in early January.  White Sox GM Kenny Williams hasn’t put a timetable on Peavy’s return, but has also stated that he doesn’t expect him back for the start of the season. There’s a lot of runway between now and when Jake Peavy returns to the mound for the White Sox, but there is reason for Yankee fans to hope that he recovers in full.

Heading into the 2011 season, the White Sox may have the rare luxury of having more starters than spots in the rotation.  Along with Jake Peavy they boast Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Edwin Jackson.  They also have the option of using Chris Sale in the rotation.  Sale is a rail-thin hard-throwing lefty drafted by the White Sox in the first round of the 2010 draft.  He spent time in Chicago’s bullpen last summer, but is a starter by trade. Having Sale and a healthy Peavy may enable the White Sox to deal another one of their starters to fill holes elsewhere or to free up salary.  In fact, the White Sox seem to be thinking along the same lines.  Jon Heyman indicated as much in his Offseason Winners and Losers column a week ago, saying: “They flirted with the idea of trading Gavin Floyd, but appear to have decided they don’t want to touch their rotation until Jake Peavy returns.”

Before Cliff Lee broke our collective hearts and signed with Philadelphia, Mike reviewed Gavin Floyd as a possible alternative to signing Lee, concluding that Floyd would be an excellent Plan B.  Unfortunately, he noted that there were two big obstacles to the Yankees acquiring Floyd: the potential needs of the White Sox and the timing of the deal.  Mike wrote:

The problem I see is that the two teams don’t really line up for a trade. Williams asked the Rockies for third baseman Ian Stewart in return and the Yanks simply don’t have that kind of bat to give up. The ChiSox already have a speedy singles hitter in Pierre so Brett Gardner doesn’t do much of anything, and you know they won’t want Nick Swisher back. That leaves Curtis Granderson, but I can’t imagine the Yanks will cut bait on him so soon after all the progress he made late in the season. Based on the present construction of their team, the White Sox are trying to win now, so a bunch of prospects probably won’t cut it. I just don’t see how this would work from where I sit, but KW likes to do crazy stuff, so maybe he figures out a three team trade or something. I’m not sure if the timing will work out either, meaning the ChiSox might want to act and make a trade before Lee is ready to sign, but that’s the nature of the beast.

Fortunately, the question of when the White Sox may look to deal Floyd now appears more advantageous for the Yankees.  Cashman’s stated plan is “patience”, and if Andy Pettitte returns he might not attempt to do anything with the rotation until June or July.  The same questions regarding the White Sox’s potential needs still linger, though, despite a busy offseason.  This winter the White Sox have solidified their lineup with Konerko and Adam Dunn, and strengthened their bullpen by inking relievers Jesse Crain and Will Ohman to multiyear deals.  Despite that, the team has a few holes. They jettisoned Bobby Jenks, and it wasn’t a pretty ending, leaving Matt Thornton as the putative closer.  They’ve been linked to Rafael Soriano, but he appears to be out of their price range for now.  Their biggest hole remains at third base. Prospect Brent Morel has the inside track on the job, with Dayan Viciedo and Mark Teahen behind him on the depth chart, but it’s possible that Morel’s bat may not be strong enough for the position.  If so, the Sox may be looking for a replacement.

All told, a healthy Jake Peavy may enable the White Sox to deal one of their starters this summer.  Yet it’s difficult to handicap how the White Sox roster, and the trade market this summer, will firm up.  An unexpected injury could change everything.  This is the price of needing to find players on the trade market rather than acquiring them as free agents: you become increasingly reliant on the relative health, performance and goals of other organizations.  There is little that Cashman could have done differently, but it doesn’t change the fact that whether Gavin Floyd becomes available in a trade later this year may hinge simply on how well Jake Peavy’s lat muscle heals.

By way of introduction, my name is Stephen and I’m very excited to join the River Ave Blues weekend crew.  The best way to contact me is via my Twitter account or by email (stephen dot m dot rhoads at gmail).

Categories : Pitching

36 Comments»

  1. JGS says:

    I think they are going to keep Sale in the pen. Everyone seems to think Thornton will do just fine as the closer, and he has been a beast for the last couple of years, but he isn’t exactly young anymore (34) and Sale was really good in limited duty last year. Plus, all the cool kids are keeping their SP prospects in the pen now.

    • whozat says:

      They kind of need him in the rotation to start the season, unless they’re serious about putting Phil Coke in there until Peavy is back. That seems like a shockingly poor use of resources but, as Stephen said, KW likes to do crazy things…

      (also, Stephen…something about bad grammar, and you’re an awful person who should be ashamed of your writings, actions, and physical appearance. I am appalled.)

    • mbonzo says:

      I disagree. Sale has been a starter for most of his career. He was lights out as a reliever and he’s very young. The White Sox need to develop him as a starter in the minors very soon. I read a few Chicago beat writers say that he could start in the majors at some point in 2011. I’ve also read a few say that he’s the front runner for the closing job. A quality starting pitcher is worth more than a quality closer, why should the Sox throwaway such an arm? Unless theres some sort of injury risk the public isn’t aware of. His pitching motion isn’t exactly arm friendly, but neither is Lincecum’s. It would be a shame to see him relieve with all that talent.

      • JGS says:

        I totally agree with all your reasoning here but that doesn’t mean they won’t do it. Look what the Yankees did with Joba, look what Texas is doing with Neftali Feliz, and Cincinnati with Aroldis Chapman (and they paid a ton of money to get him too, and are already paying Cordero huge money to close).

        • mbonzo says:

          It definitely seems like the White Sox’ FO is split on a decision.
          http://www.southsidesox.com/20.....able-ohman

          I think Sale has spent all the time he should as a reliever, as has Joba and Feliz. Moving young pitchers into a setup/closer position is a nice way to give them major league innings, but its sad to see their talent as a starter forgotten if they succeed in the bullpen. Modern baseball for you.

          • I was just looking at that article. Sounds like they have a bit of a dilemma. It’s also interesting to think about what the Ohman signing does w/r/t Sale. If they planned to keep Sale in the bullpen, why sign Ohman? And if they are planning to use Sale in the rotation all year, what happens if/when Jake Peavy returns? They could adopt a “wait and see” approach, not counting on Peavy to actually make it back, or they could at least consider sending Sale to AAA to bide his time in case of another injury. Or they could be planning to move another starter via trade.

            • mbonzo says:

              I think it makes a Floyd trade even more likely. If I was KW I would trade Buehrle to save money and keep young talent, but more and more quotes are coming out of the organization about Floyd. KW is one of the most unpredictable GMs.

        • Tom O says:

          Remember, we’re not sure if those guys will start eventually though. It seems like Texas wants to keep Feliz as the closer, but it’s totally possible that Chapman is on a Phil Hughes-like route to the rotation. They’re certainly paying him enough. So even if Sale stays in the bullpen for now he could be en route to a starting job too.

  2. Jeremy says:

    Interesting headline.. Certainly caught my eye.

  3. Mattchu12 says:

    Very nice article, Mr. Rhodes. Welcome to the Show.

    As for the White Sox, I wonder if Cashman could work a deal around Ivan Nova and Brandon Laid/Eduardo Nunez (stay with me here) where they take one of the big contracts back so the White Sox can get aggressive with Rafael Soriano.

    Laird is hardly the big time impact player at 3B, and Nunez is more of a middle infielder. But Laird did have a monster year and Nunez could let Gordon Beckham slide to 3B. Nova could provide some mild insurance if Peavy doesn’t comeback healthy, just as we’d accept Nova as our fifth starter, perhaps the White Sox would accept him as theirs if Peavy stumbles.

    Just an idea.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      BTW, not saying it would be just Nova and Laird/Nunez. Just saying that it could be a starting point in talks.

      Also worth noting, that kid is copying my stance last night after the Jets nearly lost the game after that bone-head play by Taj Smith served it up on a platter.

      • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

        Nova and Laird/Nunez could get us a nice bench player that isn’t a black hole…

        • whozat says:

          That would be a HUGE waste of resources. How often would that guy play? THey’ve had success upgrading the bench mid-season, so you’re really talking about half a year of bench ABs behind guys who play every day.

          And who takes Nova’s spot in the rotation?

          • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

            Heh it’s a joke.

            • Mattchu12 says:

              I actually went out of my way to say that Nova+Nunez/Laird would not get the deal done, but that it was a starting point because they would fill the 3B need and add insurance to the rotation.

              There is no way those two get the deal done, I know that. I said that. I’m expecting some other names added to that.

              • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

                Yeah but it’s not really a good starting point. A starting point would be Brackman+ for Floyd or Buehrle.

                Nova and Laird are essentially throw ins if a trade is to be made.

                • Mattchu12 says:

                  Well, i’m just starting at the ‘what the team needs’ perspective.

                  The ‘what the team wants’ perspective comes next. It’s no different than the Greinke or Soria deals where we talked about Montero and what not when they didn’t ‘need’ that kind of player when they already have a bunch of 1B/DH types.

                  I would fully expect it to be Brackman, maybe Romine too, then those two guys. But you gotta start somewhere.

          • Gonzo says:

            I think his point is that package wouldn’t sniff Floyd’s jock. Not say I agree or not.

            • Gonzo says:

              Or not.

            • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

              Yeah I don’t think that will even be a good starting point for Floyd. He’s a 3.50 FIP pitcher entering his prime on a team friendly contract. Then again KW strikes me as the GM who looks at wins…

              That package might get Buehrle due to his big contract but even then I’d expect a bit more. It’s really a 5th starter and a utility player for a borderline HOF pitcher.

    • JGS says:

      where they take one of the big contracts back

      Which ones? The Sox are currently paying for five contracts of $35M or more:

      Jake Peavy: 3/52, owed 16M this year, 17M in 2012, and a 2013 option for 22M, with a 4M buyout. Why would they deal him to free up money for Soriano?

      Mark Buehrle: 4/56, owed 14M this year, FA after the season (if he gets traded, he would be guaranteed 15M in 2012. Plus, he has ten/five rights, so he can’t be traded without his consent). More importantly though, the same logic applies here as with Peavy. Why would Chicago deal him to sign a reliever?

      Alex Rios: 7/69.835, owed 12M this year, 12M next year, 12.5M in 2013 and 2014, and a 13.5M option for 2015 (1M buyout). I think you are referring to this one when you talk about taking on bad contracts, but I wouldn’t touch this one with a thirty foot pole. He has put up a .322 OBP and a 100 OPS+ since signing that mega-extension with Toronto.

      Juan Pierre: 5/44. Owed 8.5M this year, FA after that. He had a 78 OPS+ last year and has only put up an OPS+ greater than 90 in three seasons. I’ll take Gardner, thank you very much.

      Adam Dunn: 4/56. They just signed him, he isn’t going anywhere and the Yankees don’t have room for him anyway.

      Paul Konerko: 3/37.5. See above

      • Mattchu12 says:

        Well, I was referring to Buehrle or Jackson in my head. And everything I’ve heard, is that they would want to deal one of the big contracts to move Sale into the rotation, and then that would give them money to pursue a Soriano type reliever since they want a closer…

  4. CS Yankee says:

    If Sale was the their #1 in 2010, isn’t that rushing him?

    Having those five starters plus Sale doesn’t seem like a luxury as six starters have to be the bare minimum a team can consider having as starters going into a season to cover for injuries. Unless your the 2011 NYY that is…(Nova & Mitre as #4/5 means they have three-plus starters, & yes AJ will be much better in 2011).

    • The Real JobaWockeeZ says:

      Yeah it’s rushing him but with the Sox payroll being as it is I think they would like him being the 5th starter making peanuts.

      Which it’s likely that CWS will ask for near ready pitching prospects should they trade their more expensive guys.

  5. Andrew Brotherton says:

    I would definitely trade Brackman/Romine/Laird for Buehrle or Floyd. Either one would be great for our rotation.

  6. pinebarrens says:

    maybe this should have been your first post on a white sox page…

  7. Meer says:

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