Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Sit This One Out, Frank Wren

Dave O'Brien of the AJC says that the Braves should make a trade for Jake Peavy. If you took a column from December 2004 and replaced the name "Tim Hudson" with "Jake Peavy" it would be nearly identical:

The man is 27 years old, was a unanimous winner of the 2007 NL Cy Young Award, has averaged 192 innings and 194 strikeouts in six full seasons in the majors, and is under contract through 2011. Ace in prime. Plain and simple . . .

. . . Other teams will surely make strong offers, too. But as I said before, the Braves have a potentially significant advantage in that Peavy is an Alabama boy, born and raised, and he and his wife and kids make their offseason home in ‘Bama, not in San Diego. Translated: Can’t take the South out of this dude, who grew up loving the Braves and in the past has told friends how much he’d like to pitch for Atlanta . . .

. . . Getting an in-his-prime ace like this cat, who’s averaged 13 wins over six full seasons for some lackluster (and some plain bad) San Diego teams, a guy with a sub-2.90 ERA in four of the past five seasons, is only a legit possibility because the retooling Padres might shed his salary if they get several good young players and/or solid prospects in return.
There is a big difference, however, between the Hudson and Peavy situations, and that's the price that trading for Peavy will command. Sometime between the Hudson-for-bupkes trade and 2008, Billy Beane realized that he needed to demand more for a top line starting pitcher. Enter the Danny Haren deal, which sent a boatload of good prospects to Oakland. Kevin Towers and Paul DePodesta read newspapers, and they realize that the price for what they're selling is higher as well. Upshot: the modern day version of Juan Cruz, Dan Meyer, and Charles Thomas is not going to get the deal done.

And that would be the case even if Peavy weren't relatively cheap for 2009 and locked up like nobody's business for the foreseeable future. But he is, which gives the Padres all kinds of leverage. If I were Kevin Towers, I'd sit on this one until next May or June, and then extract prospects from the desperate. Sure, Peavy has a no-trade clause, but based on what I've read, he's not going to be a jerk about it. He and Towers have lots of time to figure out who the right partners are and will likely be able to move quickly when the time is right.

All of which counsels against the Braves jumping in to the Peavy pool. While Atlanta has had a remarkably strong farm system in recent years, they bled a lot of prospects in the Teixeira deal, and don't need to bleed more now. Even for an ace like Peavy.

9 comments:

Michael M said...

I'd love to see him go to the Cubs for Marshall, Pie and Cedeno or something.

Jason @ IIATMS said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
tHeMARksMiTh said...

I agree for the most part. But, wasn't Meyer a big-time prospect at the time? Juan Cruz a budding reliever with a big fastball? Charles Thomas a promising outfielder who hit .288/.368/.445 with an OPS+ of 109? At the time, I'm sure some thought the Braves gave up too much. Can you really expect Hanson to automatically work out, especially given the fact that his fastball is his only reliable pitch? I realize the Braves would have to give up a lot, but wouldn't you rather have a guy proven at the major-league level than prospects who haven't played above AA? Especially considering the talent at the A and AA level this past year, the Braves farm system is restocking. However, in the end, I mostly agree. Can the Braves really afford to give up all those prospects who are so close to helping out? Isn't this type of thing that got us into this mess in the first place? But, then again, I really, really want Peavy.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

The thing is, Hankenstein is DESPARATE to land an ace and probably knows the odds aren't necessarily in his favor with Sabathia. Also, given the Yanks decision not to deal their prospects for Santana (and crazy contract demands), I think they will be all-in on Peavy. Cashman does have a strong allegiance to Hughes, but it will take Hughes as part of the package to get this done. Along with Cano (maybe), Melky and other prospects.

Dre said...

SD would like to move Khalil Greene in the Peavy trade as well from what I've read.

Alex said...

If the Braves trade for Peavy I am 100% certain that he will need TJ surgery before his contract is up.

Jason @ IIATMS said...

Curious in all this San Diego chatter is the fact that they will re-sign Hoffman for (in the neighborhood of) $8M next year. I know they want to be loyal and whatnot, but if they are dumping Peavy, why don't they tell Hoffman that they can't afford him as a luxury closer and let him go anywhere he wishes, including retirement?

Just saying....

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Good point Jason.

Grady said...

To be fair:
At the time of the Mulder trade, it was viewed as a very similar package to that of the Hudson trade.

It just turned out, years later, that Haren was an all-star, and Meyer had a bum shoulder. It could have very easily turned out the other way.