The writing was on the wall weeks ago, but it's now finally official. Less than a year after being dealt to Boston, Jake Peavy is on the move again. League sources informed CBS Sports' Jon Heyman that the Boston Red Sox have agreed to a deal that will send Peavy to the San Francisco Giants for minor league pitchers Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.
Peavy arrived in Boston from the Chicago White Sox on the final day of the 2013 trade deadline in a three-team deal that also included the Detroit Tigers, who received Jose Iglesias from Boston. The veteran starter was a key part of the team's rotation on their run to a World Series title, but as the team falls out of playoff contention this season it became increasingly clear that he was available.
Peavy is struggling through the worst season of his career, with a 4.72 ERA, 1.43 WHIP and 7.26 K/9. He's also received the league's worst run support, which has been the primary factor in why he's only earned one win all season. Scouts from other teams weren't looking at his win-loss record and many believe he can still be effective moving to a more pitcher friendly park in the National League. The NL West leading Giants had interest in bolstering the back end of their rotation – a need that increased after Matt Cain went on the disabled list this week.
The deal is still pending commissioner approval, but it's expected that Boston will take on most of Peavy's remaining salary. That's fine for the Red Sox, who considered Peavy's contract a sunk cost at this point. Taking on a large chunk of his remaining salary helped return good value. Escobar is ranked as the Giants second best prospect (56th overall) by Baseball America. He's been struggling in the PCL league this season (3-8, 5.11 ERA) but still projects as a solid middle of the rotation starter. He has three above average pitches, all of which he's capable of throwing for strikes. Hembree is a power pitcher with an upper 90's fastball and a hard slider who was ranked 7th in the Giants farm system by Baseball America . He's struck out 46 batters in 39.1 innings this season. The bullpen seems to be where he'll be best utilized, with future closer potential.
Two upper level prospects for a struggling pitcher in the final year of his contract is a fantastic haul for Boston. The Red Sox have several options down in Pawtucket that can step in and pitch as well (or better) than Peavy was. Allen Webster seems to be the likely candidate to get called up tomorrow to start in Peavy's spot, as Brandon Workman just pitched on Thursday and Anthony Ranaudo on Friday, so neither of them would be available. The open spot in the rotation will give the Red Sox a great chance to audition that trio for a spot on next year's team. At this point, that's exactly what the last place Red Sox should be doing – looking ahead to 2015.
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