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Jake Peavy Rumors
The Giants have some uncertainty in their rotation behind top starters Madison Bumgarner and Tim Hudson, but they shored things up by bringing back Jake Peavy on a two-year, $24MM deal. The pact became official yesterday and on a conference call with reporters yesterday evening, Peavy talked about his decision to stay put in San Francisco. Like Sergio Romo yesterday, Peavy had nothing but praise for the Giants organization and its close-knit locker room.
The veteran says that he had lots of interesting opportunities elsewhere, but ultimately it was an easy choice to return to the Giants.
“Not being Jon Lester, I wasn’t flying around everywhere nor did I want to get my door beat in but…we had six or seven teams wanting to make offers,” Peavy said when I asked him about interest from other clubs around baseball. “Once the market starts to go, it starts to go, and guys start to go to teams fast and teams want to get players fast.”
The veteran, 34 in May, intimated that he spurned more lucrative offers from other teams to remain in orange and black.
“I had some really nice offers but I wasn’t chasing the most money. There were opportunities for that, but I didn’t take those and I feel blessed. I wanted to be in a situation where A. I can win – [manager Bruce Bochy] and [Giants vice president Bobby Evans] will tell you this, it does nothing but re-energize you and it makes you want to win even more than you previously did.”
“I feel like I can be a really good major league player and I wouldn’t show up if I didn’t think I could go out and replicate what I did in August and September there and I wanted to get a fair deal – what I thought was very fair deal – and I think for both sides we gave a bit to make that happen and that’s about as good as I can answer.”
Peavy’s desire to return to the Giants has been clear for some time but he “waited for the dust to settle” rather than rushing into a deal. He was never skeptical about whether he could work out a new pact with the Giants but, rather, he wanted to see how the market played about before signing anywhere. As he alluded to, that was the smart move for free agent starters on the second-tier or below. With Lester and others off the board, things became much clearer for Peavy and other veteran starters looking for their landing spot.
At the age of 34, this was Peavy’s first go-round through free agency and it wasn’t a process that he terribly enjoyed. In the end, though, things appear to have worked out just fine. Peavy is back with the Giants – and back with Bochy – on a two-year pact. And, thanks to his full no-trade clause, he knows that he’ll be able to take off his coat and stay a while.
Pitcher Jake Peavy has officially agreed to a deal to return to the Giants, as first reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter link). It’s a two-year, $24MM deal with a full no-trade clause, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. Peavy, a CAA client, will be paid a $4MM signing bonus and salaries of $7MM in 2015 and $13MM in 2016, writes Crasnick.
Peavy, 34 in May, posted a 3.73 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 2.8 BB/9, 1.02 HR/9, and 38.5% groundball rate in 202 2/3 innings for the Red Sox and Giants this year. The Red Sox traded him to the Giants on July 26th with cash for Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree. Peavy posted a 2.17 ERA in 78 2/3 innings for the Giants after the trade. While his control improved with the Giants, his sharp drop in homer-to-flyball rate (3.2 percent) isn’t sustainable, even in the pitcher friendly AT&T Park.
While the level of production he showed in the season’s second half is very likely to come back down to Earth, there’s no doubt that a full-time move to AT&T Park and the NL West will be of benefit to Peavy’s numbers. He’ll provide the Giants with some much-needed stability in the rotation, as the team currently has a great deal of uncertainty behind ace Madison Bumgarner and veteran workhorse Tim Hudson. Matt Cain is coming off elbow surgery, Ryan Vogelsong is also a free agent, Tim Lincecum hasn’t been reliable for the past three seasons and Yusmeiro Petit, while excellent in 2014, has never held down a rotation spot for a whole season.
Peavy’s contract closely mirrors that two-year, $25MM contract extension that fellow 34-year-old NL West hurler Jorge De La Rosa signed in August, and it’s also in line with what both Hudson and Bronson Arroyo signed for last winter. While each of the latter two pitchers is considerably older than Peavy, they signed in a free agent market with less quality pitching available. In a free agent profile back in late October, MLBTR’s Jeff Todd correctly predicted that Peavy would top Hudson and Arroyo, though Peavy’s final deal fell a bit shy of his $28MM prediction.
This marks only the second significant move for Giants GM Brian Sabean this offseason — he agreed to terms on a two-year, $15MM deal with Sergio Romo earlier in the week — though not for lack of trying. The Giants made a legitimate run at re-signing Pablo Sandoval and have also been connected to Jon Lester, Yasmany Tomas and Chase Headley, among others, but each has signed elsewhere, leaving the Giants to seek upgrades elsewhere.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The Cubs have claimed lefty Mike Kickham off waivers from the Giants, San Francisco announced (per a tweet from Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News). Kickham was exposed to outright waivers to clear a roster spot for the signing of Jake Peavy, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter).
Kickham, 26, has been knocked around in limited MLB experience over the last two seasons. But he continues to put up solid numbers in the PCL as a starter. Last season, he tossed 148 1/3 Triple-A frames, carrying a 4.43 ERA and 7.9 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9.
For the Cubs, Kickham represents a southpaw relief option as well as possible starting depth. Chicago has players like Felix Doubront, Tsuyoshi Wada, Zac Rosscup, and Eric Jokisch potentially available as lefties in the pen, but will go without several of last year’s primary LOOGY arms.
The Marlins, Braves and Giants are interested in free agent starting pitcher Jake Peavy, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets. Rosenthal notes, however, that the Marlins are only candidates to sign Peavy if newly acquired starter Dan Haren either retires or is dealt.
There haven’t been many reported rumors on Peavy this offseason, although he’s been connected in passing to the Dodgers and Twins as well as the Marlins and Giants. Peavy, 33, had an uneven 2014 season, struggling in 20 starts with Boston before heading to Giants in a July trade and getting great results down the stretch in San Francisco. He then pitched well in two postseason starts before struggling in two World Series outings. Still, he could be in line for a multi-year deal. As a scout told ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick earlier this month, “[I]f you have a deep team and you can give him a [Tim] Hudson type of deal and plug him into the 4 or 5 spot, I think he’s worth that.“
There has been much speculation about Dan Haren‘s role in the impending six-player trade between the Dodgers and Marlins, as Haren has openly said that he’d rather retire than pitch anywhere but for one of the two Los Angeles teams. Angels GM Jerry Dipoto shot down speculation that the Marlins could flip Haren to his team, telling reporters (including Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register) that his team wasn’t trading for Haren.
As we wait for either of today’s two blockbuster Dodgers trades to be finalized, here’s some more news from Chavez Ravine…
- There are rumors around the Winter Meetings that the Dodgers are making these big moves to position themselves to sign James Shields, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon reports (Twitter link).
- The rumored Andre Ethier-for-Miguel Montero swap with the Diamondbacks fell apart because of how much money the Dodgers would have had to pay, Saxon reports (via Twitter). Arizona ended up dealing Montero to the Cubs yesterday.
- Also from Saxon, the Dodgers haven’t made any inquiries about Ervin Santana.
- The Dodgers have been talking to other free agent pitchers, however, including Jake Peavy, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal tweets.
- Rumors of a Matt Kemp deal to the Padres “has legs,” a source tells Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. The two sides have made some progress but nothing is official yet. Yasmani Grandal would be the main piece coming back from San Diego and Heyman hears the Dodgers have also asked for pitchers Joe Ross and Zach Eflin (though Heyman isn’t sure if both would be included if the deal happened.)
Jake Peavy acknowledges that he had an up-and-down season and tells Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com that he feels he has a lot to prove in free agency. However, the 33-year-old righty tells Crasnick that he actually enjoys the skepticism surrounding him after his struggles in Boston and in the postseason with San Francisco. “I need to have people doubting me, because that’s when you dig deep and find out what you’re made of,” Peavy explains. Crasnick spoke to a number of scouts and executives that all feel Peavy is a perfectly capable fourth starter at this point in his career, even if he’s not capable of being the ace he once was. “He’s not a No. 1 or a 2 by any stretch,” a scout tells Crasnick. “But if you have a deep team and you can give him a [Tim] Hudson type of deal and plug him into the 4 or 5 spot, I think he’s worth that.” (Hudson signed for two years and $23MM.) Crasnick hears that the Marlins have already had discussions with Peavy’s camp this offseason. Crasnick’s article has several excellent quotes from scouts and execs on Peavy’s current free agent stock and abilities on the mound.
Here’s more from baseball’s Eastern divisions…
- John Harper of the New York Daily News still isn’t convinced that the Yankees won’t make a run at Max Scherzer, and he spoke with one executive (that he describes as “friendly” with GM Brian Cashman) who shares that view. The exec noted that while Cashman would love to build from within and hates the idea of surrendering a first-round pick, turning to Scherzer and Andrew Miller while letting David Robertson sign elsewhere would net the Yankees a fairly similar selection to their No. 19 overall pick. Harper also wonders if the leak of the Yankees’ interest in Miller was, to some extent, a deliberate tactic to put extra pressure on Robertson to re-sign.
- Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes that the Yankees are currently more likely to sign Miller than Robertson, though he eventually notes that the Bombers haven’t ruled out signing both relievers to pair with the electric Dellin Betances as a dynamic bullpen trio. Heyman, too, notes that the Yankees likely see some merit in the idea of pursuing the slightly cheaper Miller while letting Robertson walk to earn a compensatory draft pick.
- Though much has been made about the Cubs, Rockies, D’Backs and Mariners as a potential trade partner to fill the Mets‘ hole at shortstop, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes that the Red Sox are an interesting partner as well. Prospect Deven Marrero is said to be available in trades, Martino writes, and the Red Sox have a well-documented need for starting pitching, making the two sides a good fit on paper.
- The Orioles have lost Nelson Cruz to free agency and are facing the possibility of losing Nick Markakis as well, prompting Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports to list a short-term deal with Colby Rasmus as a possibility for the O’s should Markakis land elsewhere (Twitter link).
The Twins announced the hiring of longtime Orioles minor league coach Butch Davis as their first base coach yesterday, adding to their recent list of coaching additions. While they’ve drawn a bit of flak for keeping most of their hires in-house, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN reports (Twitter link) that Minnesota reached out to recently dismissed Cubs skipper Rick Renteria about the bench coach vacancy (since filled by internal candidate Joe Vavra), but Renteria declined to interview. Similarly, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets that the Twins wanted Delino DeShields to serve as their first base coach, but he took a position managing the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate, as his ultimate goal is to manage in the Majors someday.
Here’s more on the Twins…
- GM Terry Ryan told reporters yesterday, including La Valle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, that Minnesota did not win the bidding for Korean lefty Hyeon-jong Yang (Twitter link). There was some confusion as to whether the Twins or Rangers won the bidding, with some speculating that they made very similar bids. The point is moot, regardless, as the KIA Tigers did not accept the winning bid for their top pitcher’s services, as it was deemed too low.
- The Twins have interest in right-hander Edinson Volquez, reports Wolfson. Additionally, they’ve had conversations with agent Greg Genske, who represents both Francisco Liriano and Brett Anderson. Minnesota is expected to meet with Justin Masterson‘s agent next week at the Winter Meetings, and they met with CAA (the agency that represents Jake Peavy and Nori Aoki) at last month’s GM Meetings, Wolfson adds. However, there’s no real traction on either CAA client at this time.
- Wolfson also tweets that the Twins have made an official offer to Torii Hunter, who is expected to reach a decision soon. The Rangers are said to be pushing hard for Hunter, who reportedly prefers to sign with a contender. That makes a return to Minnesota seem doubtful.
- The Twins have given no indication that they plan to non-tender southpaw reliever Brian Duensing today, tweets Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Duensing, 31, is projected to earn $2.5MM in arbitration and was listed by MLBTR as a non-tender candidate.
Pablo Sandoval is seeking a six-year contract on the open market, his agent Gustavo Vasquez tells Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. Given his client’s age, Vasquez doesn’t feel that a four- or five-year deal is a sensible target. “Maybe if he was 30 or 31 we could talk about four or five years,” Vasquez said to Schulman. “But he’s 28. He deserves more than that.”
Vasquez explained to Schulman that the six-year term of the contract is more important to Sandoval than the average annual value. That comment isn’t surprising, as a player will typically downgrade a contract’s AAV as the years increase. While he said Sandoval has no specific dollar figure in mind, other reports have indicated a target north of $100MM. So, while the AAV of the deal may be somewhat flexible, it seems Vasquez must be eyeing at least a $17MM annual salary for his client.
The Giants have yet to make a formal offer and instead have been discussing various options regarding the length of the deal, according to Vasquez. He’s already spoken to multiple teams about Sandoval and is expected to have several face-to-face meetings at next week’s GM Meetings in Phoenix. The agent notes that Sandoval isn’t necessarily interested in dragging out the process and would sign quickly if he received an offer he likes.
As Schulman writes, he got a different sense from Giants GM Brian Sabean regarding an offer to Sandoval at the team’s postseason debriefing. Sabean told reporters that the Giants have explained to free agents Jake Peavy and Ryan Vogelsong that they first need to sort of Sandoval’s situation before moving onto them, and his comments did imply that they’ve made some form of offer: “We’ve told both Peavy and Vogelsong we need time to sort things out. Again, it goes back to Pablo. Pablo is the only one we’ve engaged as far as an offer and moving forward. The other four free agents know where we stand.”
Sandoval figures to be an attractive option on the free agent market this winter, though it remains to be seen whether any team will be be comfortable with his desired six-year term. The Red Sox have been linked to him on multiple occasions, and the Marlins are another team reported to have interest. Sandoval would also make sense for the White Sox. The Yankees have a definite need in the infield, though to this point, they’re not focused on Sandoval and are said to prefer to re-sign Chase Headley.
In his latest ESPN Insider-only blog (subscription required), Buster Olney looks at the latest chapter in the Alex Rodriguez saga — a report from the Miami Herald indicating that Rodriguez admitted his PED use to the DEA in January — and opines that the Yankees need to do everything in their power to be free of him. Olney wonders if the Yankees could release or suspend him and invoke the player conduct clause in their standard contract in an effort to legally absolve themselves of the remaining $61MM commitment in light of his confession. Industry perception, Olney writes, is that the conduct clause is superseded by the language in the CBA, but no one has ever really made a challenge using the player conduct clause. And, he writes, the worst-case scenario would be paying him the remainder of his salary while getting nothing in return — an outcome which could happen even with Rodriguez in uniform. Of course, it’s not a given that Rodriguez doesn’t have some productivity left in his bat, but it’s hard to fault Olney for doubting the possible contributions of a 39-year-old who has appeared in just 265 games since Opening Day 2011.
More from Olney’s piece…
- Hanley Ramirez‘s strong desire to play shortstop — or the infield in general — will be a detriment to his free agent stock, Olney writes. He suggests that Ramirez announce to teams right now that he is willing to play a corner outfield position, shortstop or third base next season in order to create the strongest market possible for his services. Olney rightly points out that the idea of Ramirez in a corner outfield spot would broaden his appeal to numerous clubs and help to create a bidding war for his services. It doesn’t seem that Ramirez is changing his plans anytime soon, however. As Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times pointed out today (Twitter link), Ramirez has changed his Twitter bio to read “MLB Shortstop.”
- Olney has gotten indications that the Mets will be aggressive with at least one free agent signing and one trade this offseason, and he lists the familiar matchup of the Cubs as an ideal trade partner. Starlin Castro‘s name arises as a speculative target for Olney, though he adds that the price tag could be prohibitive: Jacob deGrom or Zack Wheeler.
- The Giants are interested in working out a new deal with right-hander Jake Peavy following his excellent work for the Giants after their July acquisition. Peavy struggled in the playoffs, but his regular-season work in San Francisco was excellent: a 2.17 ERA (3.03 FIP/3.91 SIERA) with 6.6 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 78 2/3 innings (12 starts).
What a difference a few months can make. For Jake Peavy, a former ace turned would-be trusty veteran, a trade deadline deal to the Giants has changed perceptions and, perhaps, his market. Approaching free agency for the first time entering his age-34 season, Peavy now looks to be one of the more intriguing players to watch. (Of course, all eyes will be on him tonight as he takes the hill looking to clinch the World Series.)
Twelve regular season starts with the Giants late this year yielded remarkable results: a 2.12 ERA and 3.03 FIP over 78 2/3 frames. Three more post-season outings have resulted in a 3.68 earned run mark across 14 2/3 innings, with time left for more positive impressions. With a constantly evolving pitch mix and approach, as he explained recently to Eno Sarris of Fangraphs, Peavy may have found an edge in the constantly evolving battle between pitcher and hitter.
Though Peavy is no longer the strikeout threat he once was, he seems to have stabilized in the seven to seven-and-a-half strikeouts per nine range. And he continues to reliably post walk rates below three per nine innings. Though he is not a heavy groundball pitcher, Peavy has generally maintained a BABIP-against at or below .290.
Then, of course, there is Peavy’s impressive pedigree. From about 2004 through 2008, Peavy was one of the best starters in the game, and he has had excellent full-season results as recently as 2012 (3.37 ERA over 219 innings).
Peavy is often cited as a trustworthy veteran who is a positive clubhouse member. An intense competitor on the hill, the righty is certainly the type of player who holds appeal both to veteran-laden contenders and young teams looking to put a role model in place.
His late run with San Francisco aside, Peavy has struggled mightily at times in recent years. He put up a 4.17 ERA in 2013 and allowed 4.72 earned per nine with the Red Sox to start the year in 2014. Neither did peripherals paint a much rosier picture, with ERA estimators pegging Peavy as a back-of-the-rotation option at best.
And it is not as if this were an isolated downturn. Sandwiching his solid work in 2012, Peavy had been an average or worse starter over the 2009-11 stretch. That decline can be traced, in part, to steady downticks in Peavy’s average fastball velocity. After working in the mid-90s earlier in his career, Peavy has not even averaged 91 mph since 2010 and just saw his average heater drop into the eighties for the first time.
Declining strikeout rates are one result; in his solid stretch with the Giants, Peavy has maintained only a 6.6 K/9 rate that falls shy of any of his full-season averages. On the year, he struck out just 7.0 per nine, his worst-ever rate. More tellingly, perhaps, Peavy’s K-BB% fell to 11.1%, far and away the worst mark his his 13-year career.
Neither has Peavy been a model of health. He has failed to reach 150 innings in four of the last six seasons. Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries are among his maladies, along with a more recent ribcage fracture. He also missed time due to an ankle injury and, further back, elbow strains. (Peavy has never undergone Tommy John surgery.)
Often described as a family man, Peavy and his long-time wife Katie have three sons. A native of Alabama, Peavy makes his permanent residence in his home state. Over the years, of course, he has moved from coast to coast, though Peavy has never chosen his own destination (aside from agreeing to extensions with the Padres and White Sox in advance of free agency).
When he is away from the ballpark, according to this aggregated profile, Peavy prefers to spend time in the outdoors. His family lives in a cabin on a substantial spread of land, and he hunts and fishes in his spare time. Peavy also plays the guitar and is a practicing Christian.
In a market loaded with mid-level starters, Peavy occupies a somewhat unique place. He is the oldest of that group aside from Hiroki Kuroda, who is not expected to test interest broadly. In that respect, he probably stands alone to some extent as a solid veteran who can (theoretically, at least) be had on a somewhat shorter commitment.
A client of CAA Sports, Peavy could hold appeal to a variety of clubs that may or may not be as interested in other non-premium starters. More specifically, it is certainly possible to imagine the Giants being interested in a reunion, and the White Sox are another former club that could show interest in a shorter-term arrangement. Otherwise, the Cardinals, Angels, Rangers, Braves, D’backs, and Cubs all could make some degree of sense.
Peavy says he has interest in ending up in the same place as former Red Sox teammate Jon Lester, saying that “there’s a package deal out there for any team.” Choosing a landing spot based more on personal preferences — including, perhaps, re-uniting with Lester or other former teammates — than maximum contract would not be a surprise for Peavy. He said back in 2005 that “money is not why I’m pitching” and backed that up recently when he signed a reasonable extension with the White Sox rather than hitting the market.
Though some have suggested that Peavy may have pitched his way into a three-year deal in recent months, a two-year contract still seems the likelier outcome — especially if Peavy prioritizes finding a home that suits him for non-financial reasons. Peavy should easily top the two-year, ~$22-23MM contracts given to several veterans last year, and could land a deal on the model of Ryan Dempster’s two-year, $26.5MM pact. Updating that contract for inflation, and accounting for a value boost after Peavy’s success in San Francisco, I predict that he will ultimately fall just shy of his last contract and sign for two years and $28MM.