Reports have been coming out recently saying that the Brewers are very interested in Jake Peavy.
Doug Melvin likes to keep things close to the denim vest, so it’s unusual to hear adverbs like, “very” describing the Brewers interest in a trade target. I honestly can’t remember the last time that Brewers had their interest in a player reported before they traded for him. Maybe Nyjer Morgan, but Melvin immediately refuted that report, only to trade for him a day later. Sabathia and Greinke were out of the blue. It’s just not in this FO’s nature to have reports like this leak.
So, like I said about reports that Rob Gronkowski could be ready to play in Week 1, I’ll believe it when I see it.
Sure, it’s possible that this report is coming from the Red Sox side of things. If that’s the case, then it’s definitely not to be believed. Perhaps Doug made a call to the Sox to ask about his availablity, but Melvin just doesn’t seem to be the type to express that he’s VERY interested in a player. Plus, the Sox have every reason to try to drum up competition for Peavy’s services.
At first glance, a trade for Peavy doesn’t seem to make much sense. The rotation is full. Nelson will replace Estrada on Saturday, and even if there’s an injury, Estrada can slot back in with similar results to what we’d expect from Peavy.
There are a few ways I could see this trade make sense, though. First of all, Peavy could be an intriguing buy-low candidate. Boston isn’t an easy place to pitch by any means. When he goes on the road, it doesn’t get any easier, with Toronto, Baltimore, and New York’s hitter-friendly parks all in the division. Perhaps the team thinks that playing in the AL East is obscuring his stats a bit. His peripheral stats don’t seem to support that, as his K:9 is taking a nose dive, and his BB:9 is exploding. But hey, Maybe the Brewers have identified a mechanical flaw or think he’s simply pitching scared and avoiding the strike zone because of the parks he’s playing in. Admittedly, that latter possibility is a big stretch.
What would make a bit more sense is if the team is looking for Peavy to provide bullpen help. Peavy’s average fastball velocity is now just 89.7 mph according to Fangraph’s Pitchf/x data. For reference, it was 93.9 mph in his rookie year. The pitch has lost its effectiveness, but a move to the bullpen could result in an uptick in throwing speed. Peavy’s always been tough on right-handed batters (not so much this year), so maybe they see him as a potential ROOGY in a lefty-heavy pen. If he pitches well out of the pen, maybe he could be a potential rotation candidate down the road. Jimmy Nelson is going to be pitching more innings than ever before this year, so there’s a distinct possibility that he could wind up being fatigued by September. Peavy could become a short-term option to allow Nelson to rebuild arm-strength before the playoffs, or a fill-in if one of the other starters gets hurt.
Now, let me be clear, I do not support a Peavy trade. I don’t think there’s much upside there, even if the cost is minimal. That said, if the Brewers see something that Peavy’s stats aren’t telling, he could be an intriguing pickup that the Brewers could get creative with.