Rogers: Midseason trade of Peavy best for all
GLENDALE, Ariz. (MCT) — Is there another gambler out there?
It could be Walt Jocketty. Or maybe John Mozeliak. Maybe Josh Byrnes, Dayton Moore, Jon Daniels or Ben Cherington. Who knows?
Maybe, just maybe, at some point this summer there will be some general manager who believes in Jake Peavy’s ability to turn a playoff race. The only way White Sox general manager Ken Williams can recoup anything out of his failed trade for Peavy in 2009 is to find someone else willing to run through blinking caution lights to make a headline-grabbing trade.
Is there anyone out there who wants to enlist a former Cy Young winner with a Navy Seal demeanor, a high-mileage arm and a history of injury that screams buyer beware? Before Williams can find that out, he needs to get two or three months of high-level pitching out of Peavy, beginning April 7.
What are the chances of that?
Nothing has gone right for Peavy and the White Sox from the time that Williams pulled the wool over the eyes of 28 other general managers by trading for him at the deadline in ‘09, when Peavy was on the disabled list with a damaged tendon in his right ankle.
The good news for both parties is this is the last guaranteed year on the $57.7 million obligation Peavy carried in his equipment bag from San Diego.
Tuesday, after throwing seven so-what innings on a back field at Camelback Ranch, Peavy said he felt that a “perfect storm” of circumstances have conspired against him and the White Sox the last three seasons, the worst of which was the detached latissimus dorsi muscle that ended his 2010 season and still threatens to limit his success.
He would love to write a different ending on this story, and not just for himself but also for Williams and trainer Herm Schneider, who have had his back throughout the ordeal.
“Hindsight’s 20/20,” Peavy said. “We all could look back, and would we have maybe done something a little different? Sure. But that’s neither here nor there. We’re through it. We’re all one.
“I have a great relationship with Herm. I have a great relationship with Kenny. Those guys know I’m going to give them everything I have here.”
Twenty months removed from a rare surgery to reattach his lat, the 30-year-old Peavy has killed himself off the field to regain the form that allowed him to win 19 games in 2007 and twice to lead the National League in ERA. The White Sox have done their part too, using Schneider’s expertise and the organization’s vast resources to help him write a comeback story, but pitching has gotten a lot tougher since he lost the ability to blow 97-mph fastballs past hitters.
With Williams keeping him out of sight of the dreaded Indians, Peavy worked on his fastball in an inter-squad game against the Sox’s Triple-A hitters. He looked strong early, throwing low-90s heaters past the likes of Tyler Kuhn and the newly acquired Greg Golson, but wound up allowing 12 hits and five runs in seven innings.
The best sign might have been his seven strikeouts against only one walk.
“I felt OK,” Peavy said. “I’m tired. That was a long day’s work.”
Peavy was nevertheless going 1,000 mph at times. He let out his first audible grunt on his second pitch and his first self-directed curse on his seventh pitch.
I covered the first game Peavy pitched for the White Sox — a minor-league rehabilitation start for Triple-A Charlotte a few weeks after he was acquired — and he was the same way. He always is looking for more, and only occasionally is it there. I asked him Tuesday if the White Sox had pushed him too hard or mishandled his recovery from injuries.
“Are there things we all would have done differently, looking back?” Peavy said. “Maybe so, myself included. There’s no sense living in the past. I don’t want to do that. I certainly have nothing bad to say about the White Sox. Herm Schneider and his staff have been outstanding to me. “
In case there is any doubt, Peavy wants to end it. Williams told me that Peavy sought him out Tuesday to tell his general manager the same thing, that the White Sox had taken good care of him.
Was Peavy’s own nature a factor in his twice rushing back from injuries and in the team’s one truly bone-headed moment with Peavy — when pitching coach Don Cooper didn’t stop manager Ozzie Guillen from using him for four innings in relief of John Danks last June?
“When you’re traded over, you want to be the guy, you want to be out there,” Peavy said. “I pushed my body to the limit, and I thought I could get through it. That just wasn’t the case.
“You live and you learn. I certainly know my body now. I’m going to push it. There’s no doubt about that. That’s just way we are as competitors.”
Cooper has his fingers crossed for 33 starts.
“Managing this situation has been a difficult thing,” he said. “It hasn’t been easy to help him, with everything that has gone on, that he has gone through. ... But it’s not about what has happened in the past. It’s where is he going?”
Williams wasn’t quite drawing to an inside straight when he added Peavy to a 2009 team that was 52-51. He was looking at future seasons. But the one thing that’s clear using the 20/20 hindsight to which Peavy refers is that it’s reckless to trade for a pitcher when he’s not able to pitch.
Williams made a mistake, just like we all make them. There’s no way to erase it. But a strong half season by Peavy would put the White Sox in position to get something for him before cutting him loose at season’s end.
That’s not the ending Williams once envisioned. But life is sometimes like this, and it doesn’t have to be someone’s fault.