Boston Red Sox' Jake Peavy Can Help a Contender

By Pat O'Rourke
jake peavy red sox
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It was last July when the Boston Red Sox acquired starting pitcher Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox. Peavy went on to play a crucial role in Boston’s run to the World Series in 2013, giving the team a depth starter with a good deal of major league experience.

He didn’t need to be the ace; he just had to be the fourth-best starter. He didn’t need to be perfect every time out, having the best lineup in baseball giving him support.

That’s unlike this season, as he’s had to be a No. 3 starter for much of the season when he’s really a fourth or fifth starter courtesy of the struggles of Clay Buchholz and Felix Doubront. Peavy’s needed to be perfect every time out, as his run support has been among the worst of any pitcher in baseball.

It’s those circumstances that have faced the 33-year-old in 2014 that has him 1-6 with a 4.93 ERA through 16 starts. Peavy has a 6.38 ERA in his last nine starts where opposing hitters are batting .320 with an .869 OPS off the righty.

As the Red Sox continue play their way out of contention while getting impressive pitching performances from young starters Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman, Peavy’s role in the Boston rotation has diminished.

But Peavy can still pitch. His role is perfect as a fourth starter who can solidify the back end of the rotation. That’s the same role he filled for Boston in 2013, going 4-1 with a 4.04 ERA in ten starts before giving the Red Sox two good starts in the postseason with one blowup in Game 4 of the ALCS that inflated his numbers.

A team like the Los Angeles Angels could be a great fit for Peavy.

Los Angeles, holders of the top AL Wild Card spot at 43-33, lack in the department of rotation depth. Peavy being the fourth man behind Jered Weaver, C.J. Wilson and Garrett Richards would set up the Angels very well for the postseason.

The National League could be the desired destination for Peavy, however, as he has a good deal of experience in the senior circuit. Prior to being traded to Chicago in 2009, he was the San Diego Padres‘ ace, winning the NL Cy Young in 2007.

While Peavy is no longer an ace, there’s no doubt he can be a missing piece for many teams and give a rotation a big boost in the second half.

The St. Louis Cardinals could use another starter. Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia are on the disabled list. Adam Wainwright recently had a scare with his Tommy John-repaired elbow. Shelby Miller has pitched very well but still remains a mystery. Peavy could be a great insurance policy if any of those four were to have more issues arise.

The Milwaukee Brewers have had five starters combine for 80 starts through the first 81 games of the season, and that’s a big reason why the Brewers sport the NL’s best record at 49-32 halfway through the campaign. Peavy could be an insurance policy for one of the game’s best rotations.

Marco Estrada has a 6.94 ERA in his last eight starts, though he pitched well in Wednesday night’s win over the Washington Nationals, allowing two runs over 6.1 innings. Should Estrada continue to struggle and Wily Peralta falls off after a strong start, Peavy would provide much help to Milwaukee.

After bolting out of the starting gate, the Atlanta Braves have been treading water. They currently sit at 40-37, one game behind Washington in the NL East and two games behind St. Louis for the final Wild Card spot. The back end of the rotation has killed the Braves.

The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates are knocking on the door of the NL Wild Card race. Peavy would give Cincinnati help behind Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake and Alfredo Simon. With Gerritt Cole and Francisco Liriano on the disabled list in Pittsburgh, the Pirates need an arm to supplement a very good lineup.

Peavy isn’t the same pitcher he once was, but he provides the veteran rotation depth that is at a premium in MLB, as Red Sox fans saw in 2013. He’s a guy who competes, battles and gives you innings, and there are plenty of teams that can use someone who serves the role that Peavy does.

Pat O’Rourke is a Red Sox writer for You can follow him on Twitter or join his network on Google.

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