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A’s and Peavy Part III

July 30, 2013

Today is kind of spastic. Nothing is happening on the trade market with the most exciting move being the Indians acquiring Marc Rzepczynski from St. Louis. This means that just like a kettle of water slowly simmering to a boil, I’ve been thinking a lot about what could happen with Jake Peavy as the A’s, Red Sox, Cardinals, Orioles and now Diamondbacks get into the mix amid talks of the asking price from Rick Hahn coming down. And that is what got me thinking and prompted A’s and Peavy Part III.

At this time of year certain guys become stars – far bigger and brighter stars than they really are. Why? Because they are available. They represent the missing piece between a second or third place finish or a World Series Championship. It happens every year. Every year it is different players. It is seldom the truly elite who are available. The same is true of Peavy. Peavy has been top of the line. In 2007 with the Padres he was a 5.9 WAR pitcher. In his career he has amassed 35.6 WAR in the 1,880 1/3 innings he has logged of 8.7 K/9, 2.7 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9 for a 3.49 ERA and much inline with that 3.53 FIP. Now that is a career to be proud of. But we are paying for Peavy of today not Peavy of yesteryear. The A’s couldn’t care much about what he did, but what he will do for us going forward. Thus far this year he has been injured quite a bit, actually he has been injured quite a bit in general as aside from 2012 the last time he logged 180 innings was that aforementioned 2007 season when he notched 223 1/3 innings on the mound. His ERA is 4.28, that is not stellar. It isn’t a luck thing either with his FIP being a slightly better 4.09. He has been worth 1.2 WAR this year with 8.6 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and 1.6 HR/9. Now that HR/9 number certainly would come down in Oakland and his ERA should dramatically improve, but we are talking about the A’s taking on $19.5M in salary and potentially sending one of their top prospects in Michael Choice over to Chicago as a starting point

Pitcher A: 4.16 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 6.1 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
Pitcher B: 4.23 ERA, 4.09 FIP, 6.7 K/9, 2.9 BB/9, 1.0 HR/9
Pitcher C: 4.11 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 7.4 K/9, 1.8 BB/9, 1.2 HR/9

The above three pitchers are comparable to Peavy this year. Pitcher A has thrown 88 2/3 innings, Pitcher B 89 1/3 and Pitcher C 92, so they have kept up Peavy’s level of success over a similar period of time. The ERAs of all three are better than that of Peavy, none strikeout as many, and only one has fewer walks. All three pitchers surrender far fewer long balls which as we learned from last night’s game with A.J. Griffin surrendering all four of the runs on three home runs can quickly hurt if you don’t score nine runs yourself. Would you take on $19.5M and send Choice plus two or three other guys to get these three?

Pitcher A, we should all be familiar with, we all watched him last night: Esmil Rogers of the Toronto Blue Jays. Sure he doesn’t have the pedigree of Peavy but this year he has pretty much matched him on the mound. Would you send a top prospect to Chicago to get Pitcher B? Because he toils away on the Chicago Cubs and is Carlos Villanueva. What about Pitcher C, arguably the best of the bunch? Kevin Slowey should be available if the price is right from the always penny pinching Miami Marlins.

I realize I go back and forth and back and forth on this, but this is what we get with Peavy. We are paying for that 2007 season, we are paying for a great 2012 where Peavy had a 3.37 ERA, 3.73 FIP and was worth 4.4 WAR in 219 innings. The hope is of course he replicates those numbers, numbers that not one of the trio listed above ever attained. Is that hope worth Choice, $19.5M (or some similarly large sum) and two other prospects or more? He very well could be but, it is important to take a step back this time of year and really assess the player. When everyone is buying, suddenly some deals look a lot better than they should.

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