Scouting the Trade Market: Jake Peavy

Is the six-man rotation worth keeping?
Measuring Jorge Posada's Bat Speed*

The non-waiver trade deadline is behind us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean trade activity ceases in August. As we discussed this morning, teams can still swing trades for players who clear waivers. This is where the Yankees can find an under-the-radar deal. The typical player who clears waivers in August has a high salary; that is, teams won’t put in a claim because they won’t risk getting the contract dumped on them. The Yankees can swoop in there and work out a trade, since they’re in a better position than any team to assume salary. One candidate who fits that description this year is Jake Peavy.

Yankees fans got an up-close look at Peavy last night as he handled the Yankees with aplomb after allowing three early runs. He’s not the same guy that brought home a Cy Young Award with the Padres earlier in his career, but there are indications that he’s not just some washed-up bum. Once he clears waivers, he could represent one of those upgrades that the Yankees could use this year and next.

Pros

  • He’s started to adapt to the AL. Peavy’s most dominant days came when he pitched in the league’s most pitcher-friendly park while the AL was the dominant league. He only came over in 2009, and his numbers aren’t exactly pretty since then. But this year he’s done a good job of keeping the ball in the park despite playing in one of the AL’s better hitters’ parks. In fact, he’s pitched far more often at home, and has allowed just two of his four homers there.
  • His control has improved, too, as he’s walking under two per nine. It amounts to a 2.89 FIP, which is quite stellar. He does have a 5.13 ERA, which is alarming at first, until you consider that the White Sox have among the worse defenses in the majors. He’s also been blown up in high-leverage spots this year, which, considering it’s just 64 PA, is not skill-based. In other words, as his luck evens out there his ERA will drop accordingly.
  • ERA estimators in general think he’s a quality mid-level, or even bordering on No. 2, starter. SIERA, tERA, and xFIP all have him in the mid-3s. Other pitchers with a SIERA in the mid-3s: Ricky Romero, Chris Carpenter, Daniel Hudson, Gio Gonzalez, Matt Cain, and Ubaldo Jimenez.
  • He had surgery for a rare injury — a tendon in his arm tore completely off the bone — a little over a year ago. That delayed the start of his season until May, and it’s taken him a while to get back into the swing of things. Last night provided some positives in that regard, as he went seven innings without visibly growing fatigued.
  • He has a $22 million option for 2013 that would certainly be declined. Why is that a positive? It means that the Yankees would have another arm in 2012, allowing them to bypass the one option on the 2012 free-agent market (C.J. Wilson) and focus on the 2013 market, which appears far more robust (Matt Cain, John Danks, Cole Hamels, Anibal Sanchez, Zack Greinke, and Jered Weaver).
  • The White Sox would probably love to shed his salary in 2012, perhaps kicking in money (maybe the $4 million buy-out for 2013) in exchange for a middling prospect. Again, this plays to the Yankees advantage of having deep pockets.

Cons

  • He hasn’t exactly been a bastion of health in the past few years, pitching just 200 innings since coming to the AL in July, 2009. His last injury, however, was a freak one — no MLB pitcher has been known to have completely torn a tendon off the bone — so that might mitigate the circumstances a bit. But only a bit.
  • His strikeouts are down from his peak, as is his velocity. He seems to have compensated by developing even better control over his pitches, but there could still be a learning curve. As we saw with Mike Mussina and even Freddy Garcia, it can take a while to acclimate oneself to a diminished arsenal.
  • In 17 starts last season, by far his largest continuous sample in the AL, he had a 4.01 FIP and 4.63 ERA in 107 innings — and that was while striking out nearly eight per nine innings.
  • The money owed him in 2012, even if the Sox pick up some, means that he’s a lock to remain in the rotation. So while that might be a good thing, it also might work against the Yanks if he can’t continue to improve his game while working with low-90s velocity.
  • As mentioned on YES last night, he seems to fade after he hits 75 pitches, which is about five innings of work. Even after he held the Yanks last night, opponents are still hitting .441/.444/.542 off him after pitch 75. That is, however, 22 singles, three doubles, a homer, and two walks, so there might be some luck there, too. But considering his recent injury history it could also be fatigue. Maybe last night was a sign that he’s getting stronger, but it’s hard to make a solid determination based on one start.
  • He’d fit right into a six-man rotation: on six-plus days’ rest this year opponents are hitting .266/.291/.352 off him in 128 PA, which is his biggest sampling of rest splits.

Given what we’ve seen and heard from Brian Cashman this year, I’d give this maybe a one-percent chance of happening. Maybe less. The Yankees are seeking only proven upgrades, and while Peavy at his best, or even near his best, is a definite upgrade, in his current incarnation he might be too big a risk. Win, and you have not only a pitcher for the stretch run and the playoffs, but also someone to fill a rotation spot next year as the Yankees await a big 2013 free agent class. Lose, and he’s an expensive 2012 liability that could make it difficult to field a top-notch rotation. But when we weigh his positives and negatives and then combine it with the expected costs and risks, I think he’s as good an option as any for the Yankees.

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Is the six-man rotation worth keeping?
Measuring Jorge Posada's Bat Speed*
  • Brian S.

    Woah.

  • Nuke Ladoosh

    Pass.

  • Hester Prynne

    So now we have a 7 man rotation. This ain’t gonna happen. Peavy only gave up 3 but we were hitting the ball hard. He ain’t that good and he’s always hurt. We don’t need no Jake Peavy here.

    • Jim S

      I was going to post a parody of you, but you did a much better job than I would have.

    • jsbrendog

      We don’t need no Jake Peavy hester prynne here.

      ftfy

      • nsalem

        No way we should resign Garcia. He’s doing it with smoke and mirrors, he’s often injured and at his age he is bound to lose velocity off of his fastball. He also can’t beat the Red Sox and is approach doesn’t seem to be very intelligent. Let’s bring in more power pitchers like AJ Burnett
        and Phil Hughes.

        • jsbrendog

          hughes needs to be sent own now because nova deserves it.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            Six man rotation? Impossible. BOSTON IS NEAR!

      • Jorge

        There’s a whole lot of LoHuders-in-training around here as of late. It’s not just the overnight shift. :)

      • Joe in Upstate NY

        Hester is very good at double negatives.

    • https://twitter.com/TheRealJeromeS Jerome S.

      You have excelled at trolling lately.

  • FIPster Doofus

    Nah. Not durable enough for the money he makes.

  • Sweet Dick Willie

    Yesterday “eschew” and today “aplomb”.

    I tell ya, this site is looking a Pulitzer dead in the eyes.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Lisa: Mr. Sherman, I understand you have two Pulitzer prizes.
      Jay: Well, I, heh heh, it’s not like I carry them around with me. Ooh, it’s so hot in here!
      [removes sweater to reveal Pulitzers]

      • I Voted 4 Kodos

        Oh look! Here’s my Peoples’ Choice Award!

  • Matt

    Eh pass, although his 2.89 FIP this year is pretty shiny… I always wanted him bon my team back in the 2006/2007 days before he broke down. Also, Peavy’s never been a hard thrower. He went from like 92/93 to 90/91 now which isn’t that drastic.

    • Sayid J.

      Pitch F/x has him sitting 94 in 2007.

  • bonestock94

    I’d love it

  • Robby

    Although he hasn’t had a great year, this is the kind of guy that could be great for the Yankees, and I’ll tell you why. The guy is a BIG time competitor, as you could see late in the game yesterday. He wants the ball, doesn’t want to get taken out, and is a battler. As the YES broadcasters said last night, he is a guy who currently has #2 or #3 stuff as of now, but mentally is an ace. And the Yankees could use someone who is a mentally strong, competitor.

    I’m not saying he is somebody they will pursue. I’m only saying, if the Yankees were to pursue someone this season, he is the type of pitcher you’d want.

    • Jim S

      Types of pitchers I want: Pitchers who pitch well, and who’s performance and injury history indicate good odds of at least providing their salary’s worth in the future.

      Pitchers who I might want, regardless of how much they want the ball: Jake Peavy, if the ChiSox eat salary and it only costs us a ~B prospect.

      • Robby

        I’d rather the Yankees take on a lot of the salary, and not have to give up much prospect wise, than having to give up a good prospect.

        • Jim S

          We’re on the same page with that. But 17M next year is a terrifying total for the question marks attached to Peavy.

          • Robby

            It’s not terrifying because its the Yankees we’re talking about. But its certainly a question mark.

            • Jorge

              Contrary to popular belief, the New York Yankees actually do watch their budget.

              • nsalem

                Unless your name is Derek or Jorge. Oh shit sorry

    • MannyGeee

      i feel a grit conversation coming… wait, let me get Theo on the line for you.

      • nsalem

        If he was a lefty he would be wily and crafty with lot’s of guile on the side.

    • nsalem

      Besides you saying so. What makes Peavy a BIG time competitor. He was awful (yes SSS) in his 2 playoff performances. REALLY AWFUL

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        He’s a short-ish, non-physically intimidating white guy who doesn’t have elite velocity anymore and has to rely on guile to overcompensate for his athletic limitations.

        If he had a beard, he’d already be in Nomar Garciaparra’s Heart Index Top 5.

      • FIPster Doofus

        John Flaherty decided last night that Peavy is an amazing competitor, so now people are running with it.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Luke Skywalker: You don’t believe in the Force, do you?
          Han Solo: Oh, you mean the thing you just found out about three hours ago and are now judging *me* for not believing in?

      • Ted Nelson

        He yelled at Ozzie Guillen in the dugout, I believe… Where you draw the line between competitor and prima donna… I’m not sure. A lot of guys who yell at their coach would be called prima donna’s, especially if their ego and paycheck no longer matched their faded ability.

        I would think about pulling the race card, but AJ Burnett is a white guy who would be chastised for similar action. Like Peavy he was better before, is still paid like he’s better now, and has trouble getting passed the 5th… but Burnett is a bum and Peavy is a competitor. Not that Yankees fans give Girardi much respect, but if Burnett were yelling at him in the dugout I can only imagine the reaction. I’ve been pretty well convinced that class striation in our society is more prevalent than race at this point… and this seems like a case of that. Both white guys, but Burnett has the tattoos and stuff while Peavy appears more wholesome.

        • bpdelia

          Ted I tell my wife all the time that “classism”is the new racism.

          But in Peavy’s defense. . . Ozzie Guillen is steaming pile of shit and if he was my boss I’d probably almost certainly punch him in the face.

          I’ve done that before and i’ts gotten me fired but when you are a ballplayer its “kept in house”

          SO I’ll let Peavy slide on that. Guillen sucks.

  • Jim S

    As usual, it depends on cost. If Chicago picks up ~1/3 of his salary and we only have to give away a B- prospect, sure. But I don’t know why they’d do that.

    Just not convinced, whether it’s rational or irrational, about his future health, and a 17M salary next year is frightening.

  • Andrew

    Joe, do you see the Yankees resigning Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia this offseason?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      Nope. They’ve gotten use out of them, so unless they sign cheap I can see them letting another take the risk this time around.

      • nsalem

        reply fail sorry
        No way we should resign Garcia. He’s doing it with smoke and mirrors, he’s often injured and at his age he is bound to lose velocity off of his fastball. He also can’t beat the Red Sox and is approach doesn’t seem to be very intelligent. Let’s bring in more power pitchers like AJ Burnett.

        • vin

          “…he is bound to lose velocity off of his fastball.”

          What velocity?

    • 28 this year

      IMO, Garcia might be a decent guy to have around because you know he will give you innings. Colon just scares me because no one has any idea about anything relating to his shoulder.

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      some silly team will sign both of these guys to two year deals for a lot of cash and they will fail miserably.

      once the expectations rise the performance will fall.

      • Johnny O

        If only Omar Minaya were still running the show in Queens….

    • Ted Nelson

      Like others basically say above, I would agree it’s going to depend on the market for them. Without many free agent SP out there they might be overvalued by a team or two…. then again they’re still old (especially Colon) and injury risks, so it’s a bit hard to see them getting multi-year deals.

      With guys like Nova, Noesi, Warren, Banuelos, Betances, DJ Mitchell, Stoneburner, Marshall, Hall, etc. (Brackman?) one year closer to MLB ready… one year deals for guys who may or may not get hurt or fall apart wouldn’t be the worst thing for the Yankees next season. Maybe they can find a new Colon/Garcia candidate on a minor league deal, but maybe they can bring back the same old ones on small, incentive-laden deals.

  • Paul

    I’d do it in a heartbeat. But, if the sox are willing to take a midlevel prospect and kick in money in August, why wouldn’t they have offered him up inJuly ( and if they did under the radar and the Yankees passed, then there is no reason they won’t pass one month later)

    • Robby

      If they fell out of contention, which they were still in as of July.

      • MannyGeee

        shhhhhhh, don’t tell Kenny Williams, but they’ve kinda always been out of contention.

        They are just not a good team. individually, really good. as a team, very Raider-esque…

        • Rick in Boston

          You know, that might be the best comparison I’ve heard. You’ve got authority figures who don’t like each other. Players rapidly falling off of a cliff when they get there, only to suddenly improve once they leave. The stadium is ugly. The owner sits in the shadows. Is the Raider’s announcer awful and an extreme homer?

          • nsalem

            Bad day for falling off the cliff analogies
            http://news.yahoo.com/600-foot.....29077.html
            and plane crashes for that matter.

            • Tim

              There is no such thing as a bad day for falling off the cliff analogies. Or plane crash analogies. Or Billy Martin driving home from the party analogies.

              • nsalem

                i would imagine you don’t know or/and care what day in Yankee history this is.
                sort of a big one.

                • Tim

                  Really? I’m not sure. I guess I’m just ignorant. It’s really “touch and go” for me today, I guess.

          • Tim

            Now you take back what you just said about Hawk. Yes, he is a homer, but he is at least accurate with his calls, has a ton of personality, and gives respect to the stars on the other team when they deserve it. He’s knowledgable about the game, and his enthusiasm about his team’s good plays doesn’t feel like it has been rehearsed in front of the mirror over and over (talking to you, Sterling).

            Whenever the Yankees play the Sox, I always go Hawk and Stone over Kay. At least Hawk can read fly balls off the bat.

  • 28 this year

    Even with the concern of salary, I would rather get him for 17 M for next year rather than sign CJ for ~5/90. That way we are in good position for the 2012-2013 offseason with some big time pitchers and we will have money and room for all of them.

    Having CC (resigned), Peavy, Burnett, Hughes, Nova, etc. for a starting rotation seems pretty good. Warren can be like this year’s Nova ready for anything, Banuelos and Betances are that much closer to the show and our pitching situation seems to be in decent shape. Than with a big FA after 2012 plus hopefully Banuelos or Betances, we will be in a really good position. Honestly, Peavy makes a lot of sense to me and as big a risk as he is, the Yankees have the depth to weather such risk and it keeps the Yanks away from CJ Wilson who requires too big a commitment to make sense.

    • Scout

      I would not count on most of those big name pitchers ever reaching free agency after 2012. Some will sign extensions before then; others may be dealt and then sign with their new teams. As recent seasons have shown, top-flight starting pitching is so valuable that teams cannot afford to lose their aces to free agency.

  • nsalem

    Peavy does not want to pitch in New York.
    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news.....Peavy.html
    I have also heard that he is John Rocker’s first cousin, brother in law and great uncle.

    • MannyGeee

      For one, Jake apparently prefers a more laid-back small town atmosphere. Teams like the Braves, Astros and Cardinals top his wish-list.

      Strike one for New York.

      For two, Jake doesn’t want to go to the AL because he likes to hit, run the bases, and presumably strike out opposing pitchers a few times per game.

      The Mets hang in there, but that’s strike two for the Yankees.

      Finally, Peavy has gone on record saying he gave the Padres a discount on his current four-year contract, but not any other team. And his agent has made it clear any deal that gets worked out will likely include further compensation. So you’re talking about paying prospects on top of big dollars. Which was the same situation that limited the market for Johan Santana.

      hows that working for ya Jake?

      • 28 this year

        And that article is three years old. First, Chicago is the second biggest market in the country so NY isn’t THAT big a step. Next, Chicago sucks. Also, he’s in the AL so the hitting crap is BS. And the final cost won’t be big in prospects and while big in money, the commitment is short enough that its not all bad.

  • steve (different one)

    If Chicago picked up a nice chunk of money, it’s a decent risk. Otherwise, pass.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    The first thing that popped into my mind when you listed Jake Peavy as a trade candidate was “The White Wandy Rodriguez”.

    Take that for whatever you will.

    • nsalem

      TSJC
      interesting stuff if by chance you don’t know about it. If you can find the original article by Stan Issacs in Newsday it’s worth the read. Huge story at the time as it happened when the Giants were in NY for a series against the Mets.
      http://dir.salon.com/people/bc.....ndex3.html

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        O/T, but an awesome link, thanks.

    • Gonzo

      Are you sure Wandy isn’t the Latin Peavy?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        :: head explodes ::

  • Jorge

    I think Peavy’s a competitor too and, under different circumstances, I’d say take a flyer on him, but it’s be a 17M flyer on a team where he wouldn’t represent a significant upgrade over any of its starters. It’d be money very poorly spent.

    In very different times, in one of my first posts here, I was laughed out of the virtual room for being against the Yanks trading for Peavy. Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but ha ha.

    In other news, Mr. January, Justin Duscherer, was released by the Orioles today.

    • Foghorn Leghorn

      if the price is $17MM, that better be a gold plated flyer.

  • Mike Myers

    “But when we weigh his positives and negatives and then combine it with the expected costs and risks, I think he’s as good an option as any for the Yankees.”

    So – No move was the best move this year? If so, I agree.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    (Carefully weighs pros and cons)

    I’ll pass. I see the upside, but the money and injury risk scares me too much. Maybe he’s healed now and just working his way back, and he’ll only get stronger the further the tendon-detachment gets into his rearview, but I’ll let someone else pay some combination of 17M/a prospect to find out.

  • Urban

    Joe, I might be missing it, but I see a specific reference to his 2013 salary if picked up, and I also see a reference to a high salary in 2012, but I don’t see the specific number. What is he making?

    • Gonzo

      $17mm in 2012, and a team option for $22mm in 2013 with a $4mm buyout. Basically it’s $21mm for next year if you include the buyout.

  • Sam

    So if we got him do you think it would be a strict waiver claim or after he passes through waivers?

    • Gonzo

      He’ll pass through waivers. Kenny is the only GM that would claim him.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Kenny Williams might be the first GM in history to claim his own player on waivers.

        Peavy for 21M? I’LL TAKE IT!

        • Rick in Boston

          No way. Toronto will grab him and then trade him back to Chicago for Chris Sale.

        • Gonzo

          Holy crap. I think the universe would collapse in on itself.

  • nsalem

    Lets see Peay’s ERA+ 10 points lower than both Bartolo and Garcia.
    An Injury history similar to Colon
    Makes 7 times the money Colon and Garcia combined
    and he’s a BIG TIME Competitor

    Let’s do it.

  • http://none Favrest

    Peavy not the same outside of the NL West.

  • Mr, Yankee

    http://bleacherreport.com/arti.....on-waivers

    Looks like you aren’t the only one who is on the Jake Peavy to the Yankees thing.

    He wouldn’t be a bad option for them.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

      Bleacher Report? Damn. I immediately retract my endorsement of Peavy.

      • Mr. Yankee

        Why’s that?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Because Bleacher Report is the talk radio of the internet.

          BR.com’s writers and commenters and Mike Francesa’s callers (and host) are locked in a centuries-old blood feud to capture the title of “dumbest collection of stupid idiots that know nothing about everything”.

          • Mr. Yankee

            Not all of their writers are idiots. Some of them, sure. The ones who post fake alias’ and write about nonsense, sure.

            But not all of their writers are idiots. The guy who did the Peavy story on B/R doesn’t seem like an idiot.

            • laser

              Mr. Yankee, What you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

              • Mr. Yankee

                Nice Billy Madison reference.

        • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joe Pawlikowski

          Bleacher Report is the YouTube comments of the sports world.

          • The Raw Anonymous GM

            But CBS, FOX, CNN and other media outlets have used their stories on there sites.

            Bleacher Report isn’t that bad.

            • laser

              bleacher report is worse than watching BME pain olympics….twice

  • Rookie

    Excellent analysis, Joe. Thanks for the insights.

  • smurfy

    So, his high salary is an advantage, because we could get him through waivers, for a prospect, and even though he carries that power pitcher’s salary, he’s a non-power trickster in development. Well, I’m glad to see you admit a contact pitcher might not be worthless, or is that SIERA reading so xFippingly beautiful, that he’s must be a new species, say, the former power contact pitcher?

    Because Mr. Fister slid into Detroit with a wisper, and Dustin Moseley – did we get anything for him? I ‘spect it was out of gratitude for his playoff performance – but we couldn’t get him thru waivers now, anyway, ’cause he has a disadvantaged low salary. I see.

    Peavy was holding us down, even rolling, when they took him out. Don’t remember an out louder than CC’s for innings. But I don’t want a name, with SIERA only to thank. Do you reckon he applies extra power to his tricks?

    A lock on the rotation, a long term (how long? depends on how he does, it may seem short, yet it may never end) commitment?

    Interesting thought.

  • bpdelia

    hmmmmm. Uh. Hmmmmm. Thats a HUGE amount of money, though to be honest IF HEALTHY I consider it a far far greater possibility that Peavy can PITCH enough to come somewhat close to only be greatly overpaid.

    A guy like Peavy has a better chance of making the Mike Witt, Frank Tannana type transistion than does a guy like Burnett.

    He’s got multiple pitches and excellent control. I’m sure his command will continue to improve.

    To be honest I’ve kinda talked myself into it.

    If Chicago pays 7 of that 21 million (including buyout) they can chose one of Laird, Burawa, Kahnle, Segedin, etc.

    IF they thon in 10 million they can have Laird AND a RP prospect.

    I can easily see Peavy putting together a super solid two months and postseason and next year being a pretty good #3 starter for 20-25 starts.

    He’ll still be overpaid but for 11-14 million plus Laird (and say Kahnle) I’d take that risk.

    If its only 4 million though. . . .You’d have to pass. You can’t have nearly 40 million dollars tied up in AJ Burnett and Jake Peavy next year. Simply cannot

  • toad

    The money owed him in 2012, even if the Sox pick up some, means that he’s a lock to remain in the rotation.

    I don’t doubt that some players keep their spots because they are getting big salaries, but that’s obviously a really stupid thing for a team to do. It adds a lineup mistake to a financial mistake. Why treat it as an argument against Peavy?

    I mean, I can easily see the argument that he’s too expensive. I tend to agree. But it seems silly to act like the team is just going to ignore his performance and leave him in the rotation if he stinks. It’s not like he costs any more if he’s on the bench.