Right-hander Jake Peavy passed on all of the offers he received this winter due to a desire to remain at home with his four sons and spend time with them in the wake of a divorce, but he definitively tells Alex Speier of the Boston Globe that he will again play professional baseball. Whether he signs with a club midseason or elects to simply pursue a minor league pact/Spring Training invite this coming offseason is yet undecided, however.
“I can tell you with certainty, without a shadow of a doubt, I will play baseball again,” said Peavy. “Whether that be this year or next year, I’m still up in the air. There are some opportunities to [sign] tomorrow. If that was to happen, I’m grateful for that. But the last year of my life has presented challenges I didn’t foresee coming. It’s something I’ve embraced.”
Peavy, who turned 36 last week, suggested to Speier that he’s heard from more National League clubs than American League clubs, though Speier writes that a team’s division and league won’t have much of a bearing on Peavy’s decision if he does decide to sign. Rather, he’d unsurprisingly prefer to latch on with a club that has postseason aspirations. The Red Sox, Peavy adds, have not spoken to his agent about a potential reunion.
The 2016 season was the worst of Peavy’s career to date, as the former NL Cy Young winner and two-time World Series champion struggled to a 5.54 ERA through 118 2/3 innings. Of course, his secondary statistics all offered some optimism, as he averaged 7.7 K/9 (his best since 2012) and a solid 2.7 BB/9 with a 36.4 percent ground-ball rate. His 10.5 percent swinging-strike rate, too, was his best since the 2008 season. Metrics such as FIP (4.36), xFIP (4.70) and SIERA (4.40) were all kinder to Peavy than ERA, though none of those marks is exactly eye-catching.
Prior to that unsightly season, however, Peavy had enjoyed a four-year run as a mid-rotation arm for the White Sox, Red Sox and Giants. Though his peak days were behind him by that point, he still managed to deliver a very respectable 3.68 ERA with 7.3 K/9 against 2.3 BB/9 across 667 regular-season innings from 2012-15.
If Peavy does decide to sign with a club this summer, he’ll obviously require a bit of time before he’s ready to step right onto a big league pitching staff. While he tells Speier that he’s been throwing a minimum of one 25- to 30-pitch bullpen session per week, he’d still need some work in the minors to build up arm strength and face live hitters.