The Minnesota Twins will be looking to remodel their starting rotation this offseason after the debacle of the last two seasons in terms of injuries and underachievement. They may have no choice but to consider entering the free agent market with a decided lack of attractive assets they could offer other teams in a trade. Certainly there will be restrictions on how much the Twins will spend on a free agent pitcher, which may have more to do with length and total money in a contract than per year value if general manager Terry Ryan’s comments awhile back are to be believed.
With that in mind I present Jake Peavy. It has been reported that the Chicago White Sox will not pick up his $22 million option for 2013, which is not that surprising considering this is the first season since 2008 that Peavy will make more than 20 starts and he is on track to top 200 innings for the first time since 2007. Overall this season Peavy is 11-11 with a 3.26 ERA in 29 starts (198.2 innings) along with 177 strikeouts and 45 walks, with his next start scheduled for Friday night against the Los Angeles Angels.
Overall for his career, in 11 major league seasons, Peavy has a 120-92 record and a 3.45 ERA over 280 appearances (279 starts) along with 13 career complete games and six shutouts. His best season came in 2007 with the San Diego Padres, as he went 19-6 with a league-leading 2.54 ERA while setting career-highs in starts (34) and innings pitched (223.1). Not surprisingly, he took home the National League Cy Young Award and also earned the second of his three career All-Star selections that season.
Even though he has been in the big leagues since 2002, Peavy is still just 31 years old and will not turn 32 until next May. So theoretically he still has some good seasons left, though his recent injury history should not be ignored. His performance this season suggests he is all the way back from a torn lat muscle in his right shoulder that ended his 2010 season early and limited his effectiveness in 2011, and that is the only significant issue Peavy has had related to this arm during his career. Obviously the seriousness of that injury should not be downplayed, but Peavy has the makeup to stay an effective pitcher as he ages even if his stuff is not what it was.
Peavy’s resurgence this season may make him one of the more sought after starters on the free agent market this winter, and it’s very possible the White Sox will be interested in bringing him back at a more affordable salary. Peavy’s agent has already suggested he likes the situation in Chicago, and would be interested in returning if the team wants to re-sign him.
The Twins are unlikely to get into a bidding war with other teams for any player’s services, and Peavy’s ultimate demands in terms of salary and length of contract could be significant. But if Peavy’s contract demands are reasonable the Twins could, and in my opinion should, consider making him a multi-year offer. Peavy would serve as the potential ace starting pitcher they have not had since trading Johan Santana after the 2007 season, and could even serve as a good veteran example for younger pitchers. Sure there is some downside potential, and Peavy may simply have no interest in pitching for the Twins if he has the opportunity to pitch for a contender next season and beyond. But the Twins have to take some calculated risks if they hope to return to contention any time soon, and Peavy fits that bill.