The 2014 Boston Red Sox are anything but the championship team they were last year. (And by the word “anything,” I mean nothing like the 2013 World Series champs.)
Don’t be confused by the news of Boston trading several of their starters. They are not giving up on the season. Instead, they are trying to fix it with new parts.
While dwelling in last place in the weak American League East (40-51), the Sox seem to be ready to make a few moves this month to try to spark a comeback in the second half of the season. They designated catcher A.J. Pierzynski for assignment on Wednesday, taking the younger approach and calling up catcher Christian Vazquez, rated the 10th-best prospect according to MLB.com, to catch for the departed Pierzynski Wednesday night.
According to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe, Peavy spoke to Sox general manager Ben Cherington about the possibility of a trade.
“Don’t think people are making stuff up,” Peavy said.
Peavy has spoken to Cherington about possibility of a trade. So obviously something is up. “Don’t think people are making stuff up,” he said
— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 9, 2014
Although they have a better team ERA than both division rivals Toronto (3.99) and New York (3.99), they’ve allowed hitters to hit .260 against them, the highest batting average allowed in the AL East. Red Sox starters have recorded combined 4.15 ERA and Peavy has been one of the pitchers at the center of the Sox pitching struggles.
The right-hander is just 1-7 this season with a 4.64 ERA in 18 starts. He’s 0-6 with a 5.17 ERA in his last 10 starts, allowing 36 runs, hasn’t pitched past the sixth inning in four of his last five starts and has allowed at least two or more runs in three of his last four starts.
As reported by Steve Mills of MLBTradeRumors.com, the Cardinals and Braves were originally interested in Peavy, however after Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning, both St. Louis and Atlanta have backed out, respectively. The Sox are looking to deal Peavy sooner, rather than later, to make room for rookie Rubby De La Rosa (2-2, 2.89 ERA) who earned a no-decision in his fifth start for the Sox in their win over the White Sox Wednesday night.
The Cardinals still appear to be the best option for Peavy, despite Cards GM John Mozeliak downplaying their interest in him. They have a strong need for a starting pitcher (they lost Jaime Garcia for the season and Michael Wacha is out indefinitely) and Peavy would have the opportunity to turn his season around back in the National League, especially in a pitchers park like Busch Stadium.
Peavy wouldn’t need to do much in the back-end of a Cardinals rotation that features Adam Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez along with Joe Kelly set to return from the disabled list this week. Although Peavy is the guy the Sox want to trade, as tweeted by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, there has been a lot of interested in fellow starter John Lackey. Lackey, known for his work-horse like capability, has pitched 306 2/3 innings, recording a 3.64 ERA while striking out around eight batters and walking two per nine innings since the start of last year.
Lackey is also the more affordable option as he is under contract for the league minimum ($500,000) for 2015. Both players’ options seem to be their selling points here. Lackey’s is just $500,000 while Peavy’s is $15 million (which he isn’t expected to trigger considering that he’d have to pitch 400 innings from 2013-14 and is still 144 2/3 innings short of that mark.) Peavy is also owed just over $6.5 million for the remainder of the season and is a free-agent after 2014.
Peavy is he guy Red Sox would deal but lots of interest in Lackey — Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 9, 2014
Other players that have been brought up as potential trade prospects for Boston are outfielder Jonny Gomes (.236, 5 HR, 29 RBI), relievers Koji Uehara (5-2, 1.27 ERA, 18 saves) and Andrew Miller (2-5, 2.34 ERA, 57 K) and shortstop Stephen Drew (.131, 2 HR, 5 RBI).
While it seems like a fire-sale of sort for the defending champion Red Sox, it’s seems more like they are trying to fix their current situation with new parts. The only hope for Boston is that they can acquire the right new parts.
Don’t hit the panic button yet Boston, anything is possible in the AL East this year.