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July 29, 2013

Pebble Hunting

The BP Staff Tries to Trade, and Trade For, Jake Peavy

by Sam Miller

Around this time of year, we hear plenty of trade offers that are offered, and demands that are demanded. It’s wise to take all of these with loads of salt. Sometimes rumors get leaked because they are self-serving; sometimes they get leaked once they’ve been passed around and distorted; sometimes by the time they get leaked they’re outdated. And, of course, there are many, many more offers/discussions/demands that don’t get reported. Without the full range of context, it’s hard to really evaluate what we do hear.

What we wanted to do here is conduct an experiment to see what sort of range of offers really would develop when a dozen or so teams are kicking the tires on a hot trade deadline piece. We declared Jake Peavy available to the highest bidder. And we assigned 11 contending teams to 11 writers; each writer, playing the role of GM, fashioned a bid for Peavy. Unlike mock trades that purport to balance both sides’ interest (but rarely do), these are purely calculated: they reflect only the self-interested desires of GMs who really want a player but really don’t want to give up any more talent, or take on any more money, than they have to.

That, of course, doesn’t mean all these trades are fair. Some GM is going to overbid. Some GM is going to underbid. That’s the point, after all. A lot of actual trades look unreasonable until they get announced.

Here’s your cast:

And

  • Rick Hahn (White Sox): Me

From my (Rick Hahn’s) perspective, here’s what I’ve got: I’ve got a pitcher everybody wants. And no wonder. Check out what he’s done so far: A 4.28 ERA. Wait, a 4.28 ERA? Huh. Well shoot nobody needs to know that. He’s got almost a strikeout per inning. He never walks anybody. He’s got the 77th-best FIP among starters. Huh. Seventy-seventh? Okay, but he’s got the 42nd-best xFIP, which is better. Or he would, if he had enough innings to qualify. He doesn’t, of course, because he missed all that time with yet another injury, but nobody needs to know that, either. Okay, so we’ve got a former Cy Young winner, a recent All-Star, the 23rd-winningest active pitcher. He’s affordable: $20 million or so for the next year and a half. He’s got a reasonable option for 2015. He can help a team now, he can help a team in the future. He’s a bona fide ace! Moving him is the most important thing I can do for my club’s franchise, and moving him is my first big move as a GM. I’m hyping myself up for this. I’m listening to “Lose Yourself” at least once before I take any phone call or check my emails. I know Peavy is flawed. I know that I would probably trade him for a lot less than I'm going to actually trade him for. But it's not about what Peavy is worth to me, but what the maximum return I can get is. This is a big, big deal for us.

***

From: Kevin Towers
To: Rick Hahn
July 25, 5:33 p.m.

Matt Davidson and David Holmberg for Jake Peavy, Jhan Marinez, and $5 million

Peavy is difficult to value and trust because of his injury history. This gives you two mid-tier prospects close to the majors.

From: Rick Hahn
To: Kevin Towers
July 28, 9:51 p.m.

Holmberg is familiar, given that we traded him to you three years ago. He’s a strike thrower, and an innings eater, but not the upside I’d hope to get in such an important trade, especially with Peavy under club control for another season after this one. Davidson is a more exciting prize, and at least gives me a ranked name to hold up to the bloggers. But I’m not buying the impact yet. I’m not totally sold on him sticking at third. The swing-and-miss/game power ratio doesn’t scream sure thing. And his Triple-A slash line looks good until you look at the rest of Reno’s hitters: Mike Jacobs’ line in Reno is almost a perfect match for Mike Trout’s 2012 season.

If this were the only offer I got, I’d try to talk you down from $5 million and take the deal. But I’m confident the first offer won’t be the best.

***

From: Mike Rizzo
To: Rick Hahn
July 26, 1:54 p.m.

SP AJ Cole

CF Brian Goodwin

OF Michael Taylor

for

SP Jake Peavy

3 million dollars

Cole has the upside and stuff of a mid- or top-of-the-rotation starter. Basically he can be exactly what Jake Peavy is to you. Tack on some toolsy outfielders that have some upside, it's a cant-miss deal for you!

From: Rick Hahn
To: Mike Rizzo
July 28, 10:04 p.m.

Well this is considerably better than what Towers offered: Two ranked prospects to flash to the beat writers, plus I don’t even have to give up Jhan Marinez. [Note to secretary: Do we have a player named Jhan Marinez?] Cole is especially attractive, projectable, a fastball you can’t teach, Peavyesque strikeout and walk rates, and some of the fans will probably get confused and think we got Gerrit Cole, so that’ll play.

Goodwin feels a little bit like a guy the club is trying to get rid of before he loses his brief prospect sparkle, but I don’t care. He’s got a ton of tools, he draws walks, and even as a Double-A disappointment he’s holding serve. He’s a center fielder and he takes the big share of a platoon. Good.

Taylor is too hard to Google.

I am a little annoyed that everybody expects me to pick up some money in the deal.

***

From: Ben Cherington
To: Rick Hahn

July 27, 3:16 p.m.

Peavy and Matt Lindstrom for

Jose Iglesias

Daniel Nava

Brandon Workman

Travis Shaw

From: Rick Hahn
To: Ben Cherington

July 28, 10:24 p.m.

Huh. One way is to say that I’d get back the Rookie of the Year favorite, a league-average outfielder making the league minimum, a minor league FIP machine, and Travis Shaw. Another way is to say I’d get back a BABIP mirage at the peak of his perceived value, a journeyman fourth outfielder in his 30s, a future reliever with 13 career innings in the majors, and Travis Shaw. (Shaw, in both scenarios, is the same: a professional pitch-taker, at the wrong position.) Ultimately, I like the certainty of elite shortstop defense. I don’t like the nagging feeling that I’m buying high on second-division talent.

***

From: Andrew Friedman
To: Rick Hahn
July 27, 3:40 p.m.

My first and only offer: Jacob May and Peavy and you pay 8.5 million of the remaining 20 million on Peavy's deal. In return, I give you Roberto Hernandez, Jesse Hahn, Leslie Anderson, and a PTBNL (most likely a pitcher)

From: Andrew Friedman
To: Rick Hahn
July 28, 10:34 p.m.

Man, you guys, the Rays. I mean, you guys, you know? Make me take half the money on Peavy’s contract and throw in a third-round pick/YouTube star and offer me friggin' Fausto Carmona, a 31-year-old Triple-A corner guy, a PTBNL (most likely a terrible pitcher) and Hahn. I mean, you start with friggin' Fausto Carmona. That’s the first name on your list! Hahn might be the only player we’d even claim on waivers, and even with his strong arm he’s 23, in High-A and has pitched in all of 32 career games. Sometimes it’s just like, Rays. Come on, Rays.

***

From: Dan Duquette
To: Rick Hahn
July 27, 4:49 p.m.

Mindful of the White Sox' desire to add pitching prospects, we will offer Double-A right-hander Mike Wright and Low-A left-hander Josh Hader for Peavy, sans any salary coverage.

From: Rick Hahn
To: Dan Duquette

July 29, 10:52 p.m.

I don’t blame you for the offer, but it’s a bit light compared to what we’ve been getting. Hey, for fun, ask the Rays what they’ll give you for Wright and Hader. It’ll be something like the non-juice parts of a pack of Gushers, Adam Piatt’s Hotmail password, and a Prayer (yes) To Be Named Later.

***

From: Neal Huntington
To: Rick Hahn
July 27, 8:32 p.m.

Nick Kingham

Tyler Glasnow

Dilson Herrera

From: Neal Huntington
To: Rick Hahn
July 27, 8:51 p.m.

I think I overpaid

From: Rick Hahn
To: Neal Huntington
July 28, 11:14 p.m.

LOL yup. Reminds me a bit of the package Arizona got for Dan Haren, with a high-upside arm in Glasnow and a high-floor innings eater in Kingham. Of course, I hated the Arizona side of the Haren deal at the time, but Peavy’s not what Haren was, his contract isn’t as good as Haren’s was, and Dilson Herrera is a tasty low-minors sweetener. I’d probably rather have Glasnow than Peavy in my particular organization right now.

***

From: Billy Beane
To: Rick Hahn

July 28, 2:19 a.m.

Oakland asking for a total of $4 million of Peavy's salary to be paid between the 2013 and 2014 seasons. In addition, White Sox receive prospects OF Michael Choice, RHP Michael Ynoa, 3B Renato Nunez, and RHP Raul Alcantara.

From: Rick Hahn
To: Billy Beane

July 28, 11:44 p.m.

It’s a lot of guys I’ve heard of, none of them Fausto Carmona, so I appreciate that. There really is a ton of talent in this package, and if some of it is talent that you’ve soured on a bit, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t like to have our turn with them. Four players, four different risk levels, a mix of players close to the majors and far, and every one of them exciting for at least one or two reasons. This is a really tempting package.

***

From: Frank Wren
To: Rick Hahn
July 28, 8:03 a.m.

Tommy La Stella (2b, Double-A)

Cody Martin (rhp, Triple-A)

Juan Jaime (rhp, Double-A)

Jaime is a power relief arm; La Stella is hit tool second baseman; Martin is starting pitcher who misses bats and has very strong minor league performance on books.

From: Rick Hahn
To: Frank Wren
July 28, 11:59 p.m.

Frank, what I like about these guys is that Jaime is a power relief arm; La Stella is a hit tool second baseman; and Martin is a starting pitcher who misses bats and has very strong minor league performance on books. Those are all things I’d like to have on my ballclub. While I can’t deny the trio’s minor league performances, they’re all a bit older than I’d like in a prospect package, and I can’t find an All-Star in the bunch. Also this is Cody Martin’s Google bio picture:

***

From: Brian Cashman
To: Rick Hahn
July 28, 11:45 a.m.


So here I am, middle of the pack in the AL East, wanting to give Mo Rivera one last shot at glory. Seeing as I've been living on smoke and mirrors for the last few months (Vernon Wells. Vernon Freaking Wells), I should probably realize that my position is more to do with being lucky than anything. For some reason, I have already decided that my path to success involves trading for Alfonso Soriano. If I were being rational, I would probably sell what parts I have on hand and tank the rest of the sea... what am I doing? I'm Brian Cashman of the New York Yankees. There is no I in team, and there is no "Fuck it, we're not winning this year" in "Brian Cashman!"

Okay, so Jake Peavy would represent an upgrade over that one guy whose name I can't remember. What was it? Phelps? Right. Him. Where did we get him? Anyway, in a short series, I could see Sabathia, Peavy, and Kuroda working some magic. But what to give up? Rick, you have so little talent in your upper minors and you're in last place in the AL Central (nyah nyah). You're also playing Alejandro de Aza in center field. Thankfully for me, I've got a good center fielder who is not hurt in Brett Gardner and who has two years of arb control left.

I'm not so sure I should go balls out for Peavy, so I'll offer you Slade Heathcott (or is it Heath Sladecott?), minor league outfielder at Double-A Trenton. He profiles as a center fielder, although my farm director Jason Parks reports that he's a bit injury risky due to his balls-out approach. Sounds like an oddly fitting deal for a guy who's good but also a big injury risk. Maybe he's the next Austin Jackson.

In addition, I'll send you some org player who grew up in Chicago and always wanted to play for the White Sox.

It's not much in terms of quantity, but Peavy is a risky buy and I'm not even certain that it's a good idea that I should be focusing my energy here or if I should be buying at all. So, if I don't win, I'm not too sad.

Okay? If you're willing to deal Peavy, I'll send you Slade Heathcott. I know you need some potential outfield help that's nearby to the majors.

From: Rick Hahn
To: Brian Cashman
July 29, 12:21 p.m.

You're a dick.

I’ll think about it.

***

From: John Mozeliak
To: Rick Hahn
July 28, 3:12 p.m.

If we have not missed the cutoff, the Cardinals would like to make the following offer:

Matt Adams, Ryan Jackson, and Jordan Swagerty for Jake Peavy and $1mm cash

With Paul Konerko being a free agent next year, Adams gives you someone who can step right in and be productive at the major league level. On top of that, Jackson could fill a need once you're able to trade Alexei Ramirez (unless you'd like to trade him to us, of course) as a good defender who is at worst a stopgap until you can find a better option at the position. Swagerty is certainly a risk, given he's only pitched 10 2/3 innings since his Tommy John surgery nearly two years ago, but he has an electric arm and is a very worthy gamble. All in all, it's a group of prospects who are either major-league ready or could be in short order.

From: Rick Hahn
To: John Mozeliak
July 29, 12:31 p.m.

You are literally just offering me players who aren’t good enough to play on your team but are too good to throw out. This is your Craigslist posting, asking like $10 for a refrigerator because you have four refrigerators and only three refrigerators worth of Cristal that needs to be refrigerated. You have no idea how depressed your offer makes me, because I’m sort of thinking real hard about taking it. Can’t we just have Matt Adams?

***

From: Rick Hahn
To: Ned Colletti
July 28, 10:23 p.m.

Hey Colletti, where’s your trade proposal

From: Ned Colletti
To: Rick Hahn

July 28, 10:42 p.m.

Down to brass tacks, we're offering the following:

Corey Seager, Matt Magill, Garrett Gould, and Alex Castellanos for Jake Peavy and Gordon Beckham

That gives you three prospects (Seager a bona fide top 40 guy) and a 26-year-old outfielder who can replace Rios when you trade him.

From: Rick Hahn
To: Ned Colletti

July 29, 1:03 a.m.

This is a very generous offer, and it saves me the trouble of ever having to decide what to do about Gordon Beckham again. But as much as I’d love to empty out your farm system for a pitcher with a 1-in-3 chance of staying healthy for the entire plane flight to you, I’m spooked by Magill’s control problems and by seeing what happens to Gould in a hitter’s park. Plus, well, I’m kind of attached to Beckham. Like Schouler and McTeague.

***

From: Rick Hahn
To: Neal Huntington
July 29, 1:04 a.m.

Congratulations!

(No backsies)

Sam Miller is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Sam's other articles. You can contact Sam by clicking here

Related Content:  Trades,  Jake Peavy,  Trade Deadline

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