July 31, 2009
The bell rings on the MLB trade deadline at 4 p.m. eastern, but that doesn't mean you can't see a major bombshell hit after that time. Last year the Manny Ramirez deal fell about 4:20 pm, and this year Jake Peavy(notes) was the big-ticket item that changed teams as the "wait, there's one more" trade. (There's nothing nefarious or controversial about the late announcements, by the way; the league has paperwork to put to bed on any deal.)
The official deal looks like this: Peavy heads to the White Sox, while the Padres collect four pitchers: lefties Clayton Richard(notes) and Aaron Poreda(notes), and righties Dexter Carter and Adam Russell(notes). It's a lot to digest, and it raises a slew of questions, more than the ordinary July 31 swap.
How close is Peavy to returning from his ankle injury? He's been carrying a late-August return tag for a while, though it was speculated that the Padres might just shut him down since they're buried under the surf in the NL West standings. Although the White Sox now have Peavy under contract through 2012 (and 2013 if they want to take on a pricy option), you'd like to think that GM Kenny Williams made this deal because he expects something from Peavy in 2009.
Then again, when you're talking about an injured player (and a pitcher of all positions), make no assumptions. "Frankly I am flabbergasted that the White Sox would want to make this deal with him in this physical condition," Barry Axelrod, Peavy's agent, told Inside The Padres "We are optimistic about the ankle. Jake is prepared to throw off the mound. Jake is optimistic. But he hasn't thrown off a mound in two months." Pretty frank talk from an agent, don't you think?
Why did Peavy accept this deal when he nixed a trade to the White Sox in late May? Perhaps the direction of the Padres has him frustrated – San Diego spent most of this week trying to move Adrian Gonzalez(notes), after all.
If you're in a redraft league and sitting with Peavy options, this trade probably comes as good news. Sure, Peavy leaves the womb of the NL and roomy Petco Park (his career road ERA sits at 3.84), but he's got more incentive to make it back on the field this summer. That's a trade-off you're willing to make, even if it means pitching in the slow-pitch softball league.
Richard becomes an interesting sleeper for the rest of the year – his 2009 profile might not look like much (4.65 ERA, 1.47 WHIP), but he's got a decent 6.7 K/9, his FIP is a respectable 4.38, and half of his future assignments will come in the most pitcher-friendly yard we know. The Padres did well to land him here.
Poreda has the highest upside of the new Friars, a first-round pick from 2007 who's been on the fast track from square one; he was one of the centerpieces in the earlier Peavy deal. The White Sox kicked the tires on Poreda earlier this year as a reliever (2.45 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 12 K in 11 IP), though he's been starting in the minors. He's got the potential to be a No. 2 or No. 3 starter in the bigs eventually, and if the Padres are willing to throw him in the rotation right away, you might take a shot on him in a deeper mixed league, considering his strikeout potential and the size of Petco.
Russell looks like a good fill for the San Diego bullpen eventually; he's striking out almost a batter per inning at Triple-A. Carter is a long-range prospect and another strikeout ace; he's got 143 punch-outs in 118 innings in Low-A ball this season.
We're not done trade spinning for the day, but our last Trade Deadline post of the day will be a catch-all variety. Sorry Joe Beimel(notes), you're not on the A-List yet. We'll be back shortly. And don't forget, gamers, it's Welcome Back Lastings Milledge(notes) Day.
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