BOSTON — Looking to bolster a rotation that has been without Clay Buchholz for the last seven weeks and will be without him for at least another month, the Red Sox Tuesday obtained former Cy Young Award winner Jake Peavy from the Chicago White Sox in a three-way deal that also included the Detroit Tigers.
In exchange for Peavy, the Red Sox gave up shortstop Jose Iglesias, who will go to Detroit, and three lower level prospects -- right-handed pitchers J.B. Wendelken and Francelis Montas and infielder Cleuluis Rondon -- who are going to the White Sox. In addition, the Red Sox will receive right-handed reliever Brayan Villarreal from Detroit. Villarreal is recovering from a recent thumb sprain and will report to Pawtucket. Outfielder Avisail Garcia was also dealt from Detroit to Chicago.
The key, of course, is Peavy, who was 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 13 starts this season with Chicago. He spent more than a month on the disabled list recently because of a broken rib. Upon his return he made two starts for the White Sox, both of which the Red Sox scouted. Peavy was the unanimous Cy Young winner with San Diego in 2007, when he led the major leagues in ERA (2.54) and strikeouts (240). Peavy also led the majors in ERA in 2004 with a 2.27 ERA.
Over a 12-year major league career, Peavy is 128-97 with a 3.49 ERA in 296 games, all but one a start. Dating back to the start of last year, covering 45 starts, Peavy has won 19 games in 45 starts with a 3.61 ERA.
"We're really excited to bring Jake here," said general manager Ben Cherington. "Obviously, he's a proven major-league starter. He's had a ton of success in his career. I think, if there's one thing we wanted to do (at the deadline) it was to add a starting pitcher. As we look at the next two months, we're in position to compete for a playoff spot and we just felt like adding a starting pitcher is probably the best thing we can do to protect our chances to do that."
Cherington described Peavy, 32, as "an intense competitor who loves to pitch. He's got a good assortment of pitches, with a ton of life on his fastball. He's got a good changeup, a good slider. He throws strikes, attacks hitters. I think he'll fit in nicely with the group we have. He's obviously been very successful in his career. We're expecting him to give us a chance to win every time he goes out."
Peavy has salaries of $14.5 million guaranteed for this season and next, meaning the Sox will assume almost $5 million pro-rated salary for the rest of this year and another $14.5 million for 2014. He has an option for 2015 that vests if he pitches 400 innings between this year and next and hits at least 190 innings in 2014.
"The extra year of control is important," said Cherington. "We went into the deadline (wanting to) improve the team and protect our chances to compete and give us every chance in October, but we wanted to do it in a way that wasn't only about this year. Hopefully, this puts our rotation in an area of strength and should be an area of strength as we move into 2014, also."
Peavy underwent shoulder surgery in 2010 and spent time on the DL in 2011 with an inflamed rotator cuff, but the Sox are satisfied that he's healthy.
"We're comfortable where he is," Cherington said. "Obviously, we went through the medical review. We're comfortable where Jake is. He's had no issues with his arm since he had the surgery. We feel pretty good about him for this year and next. That was not an issue in our minds."
Cherington, who earlier this month made another deal with the White Sox for reliever Matt Thornton, had been discussing deals with Chicago over the last week, but the conversation about Peavy "picked up in the last few days. It just came together that this was the deal that made the most sense. Of the starting pitchers available, this was the right fit for us."
To make the deal work, however, the Red Sox had to find another team. The White Sox were looking for an outfield bat, and the Detroit Tigers got involved.
"We were having a little bit of a hard time matching up directly," said Cherington, "so we found a potential opportunity with the Tigers and expanding it to a three-team deal to allow all three to get what they needed."
Iglesias, who signed a four-year, $8 million deal in September of 2009, became the Red Sox' starting third baseman two months ago after Will Middlebrooks struggled at the plate and was optioned to Pawtucket.
Iglesias was hitting .330 with a homer and 19 RBI in 63 games for the Red Sox. At the time of the trade, he led all American League rookies in average, on-base percentage (.376), and hits (71). He was named A.L. Rookie of the Month in June after hitting at a .395 clip in that month.
But he has slumped badly since. He was without an extra-base hit in his last 17 games and, before Tuesday, was hitting just .200 in the month of July with an on-base percentage of .244.
"We certainly didn't go into this July looking or expecting to trade Jose," said Cherington. "But we felt like, given the strength of [the shortstop] position in the organization, with Stephen Drew as our everyday shortstop in Boston right now and the guys we have coming in behind him in the minor leagues, it was a relative area of strength to deal from."
According to a report on WEEI.com, Brock Holt -- who played well at third base earlier this month when Drew was on the DL -- is being recalled from Pawtucket to replace Iglesias on the roster, though the Sox reportedly are still talking with the Phillies about acquiring veteran third baseman Michael Young. The trade deadline is at 4 p.m. this afternoon. A corresponding move will be made on the pitching staff to accommodate the addition of Peavy.
The Sox played Xander Bogaerts, their best prospect, at third base Tuesday night at Pawtucket, but the organization is seemingly against promoting him to the big leagues anytime soon.
"We'll have a move for tomorrow," said Cherington. "We'll add an infielder. We feel we have some talent at the Triple-A level that can help (at that spot)."
- Sean McAdam, Red Sox Insider, CSN New England