The San Francisco Giants are reportedly engaged in trade talks, spurring unsubstantiated rumors across the blogosphere that often carry zero validity. Here’s another one: the Giants should pull the trigger on struggling right-hander Jake Peavy, who owns an ugly 1-9 record with a 4.72 ERA and has allowed a league-worst 20 home runs in 20 starts this season.
For Giants fans, that suggestion is enough to incite the kind of behavior that results in broken laptops or busted knuckles. It wouldn’t be the brand of the move the Giants seemingly need to make in order to propel themselves back to the postseason, but as Andrew Baggarly of CBNBayArea points out, it’s a deal that makes a whole lot of sense on paper.
San Francisco would prefer not to part with top prospect Kyle Crick this summer, if possible. The Giants have indeed sent special consultant Pat Burrell to Tampa in recent weeks to scout Rays ace David Price, but it’s distinctly unlikely for San Francisco to both acquire a player who would demand upwards of $20 million in arbitration this coming offseason and send Crick packing.
It’s important to realize the Giants don’t “need” a front-line starting pitcher to get to October. They just need someone better than long-man Yusmeiro Petit, who currently occupies a rotation spot due to Matt Cain‘s “cranky” elbow. Consider this: if the Giants do earn a postseason bid, they would immediately adopt a max four-man rotation, which would leave either Peavy (if he were to be acquired) or Ryan Vogelsong in the bullpen.
Petit has been less than stellar in six spot starts in 2014, recording an ugly 1-2 record with a gaudy 6.32 ERA. The 29-year-old journeyman has been decent in relief, though, recording a 2-1 mark with a 2.45 ERA and .225 batting average against. Injuries have forced Petit to venture outside of his inherent comfort zone. The numbers prove he’s better suited in a permanent relief role.
Peavy has a relatively significant connection to the Giants (manager Bruce Bochy). The Giants’ current skipper managed Peavy from when he broke into the big leagues in 2002 until he left for San Francisco in 2007. The former San Diego Padres‘ ace wouldn’t make Giants fans giddy, but he would help solidify the rotation. The Boston Red Sox could be chomping at the bit to get rid of Peavy, who reportedly suffers from poor eyesight, a reality that has existed ever since he became a big league pitcher.
Peavy is owed the remainder of his $14.5 million salary for this season. He also has a $15 million player option in place for 2015, although he’s bound to become a free agent due to failure to meet a collective total of 400 innings pitched for 2013-14. Peavy would need to throw another 133.1 innings in order to qualify for his option, which is statistically impossible considering he will only start 10 to 12 more games this season.
Peavy could benefit from a return to the NL West, where he’s been dominant in the past. Even though Peavy isn’t the same player who won 19 games in 2007, he boasts solid numbers at most ballparks within the Giants’ division, including AT&T Park, where he’s posted a respectable 8-5 record with a 3.90 ERA.
Believe it or not, there’s no team that Peavy has dominated more over the course of his 13-year career than the Los Angeles Dodgers. Peavy owns a 14-2 record with a 2.21 ERA in 25 career starts against the boys in blue. He’s also registered a solid 7-1 mark with a 2.85 ERA at Dodger Stadium.
It’s a two-team race in the West, which means it’s important to add players who have proven themselves capable of beating LA. The Giants trading for Peavy is a no-brainer.