COMMENTARY | It's that time of year again.
Jake Peavy is by far the best starter on the trade market and while his contract for next season runs at $14.5 million, he is on track to earn that and more as he did last season. According to Jon Heyman, the general consensus among contenders is that Peavy's contract situation is an asset. The only player on the market who had the kind of appeal was Matt Garza, who has since been traded and may have scared some teams off as his contract expires at the end of this season.
Several teams have been rumored to be in the bidding for Peavy. Let's take a look at each team and what kind of return the White Sox can expect from each club. After Garza was traded to Texas for a collection of solid prospects, the market has been set high.
If teams do not pay up, there is a chance that the White Sox hold on to Peavy; his value will still be high in the offseason and at next season's trade deadline, in all likelihood. This is considerable leverage compared to players with expiring contracts.
The squad from Beantown is probably the most serious suitor for Peavy at this juncture. They have a very deep system that can build a package for Peavy without sacrificing top prospects Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley, Jr.
The best of the rest include Garin Cecchini, a third baseman with serious on-base skills, and Anthony Ranaudo, a big power righty who is looking more like an upper-echelon starter. White Sox Executive VP Kenny Williams was spotted scouting the two aforementioned prospects in the past week. The Red Sox have the talent and payroll flexibility to add Peavy and not only patch the hole left by injured Clay Bucholz, but also load the rotation for the future. Other rumors say that Will Middlebrooks may be in play.
The Cardinals are another organization that unquestionably has the guns to bring in Peavy without shaking up the big-league lineup or dealing their top prospect, Oscar Taveras. After that, however, all bets are off.
While there is enough organizational depth to construct a trade without one or both of these two, the White Sox will certainly be asking for power-hitting Matt Adams and hot middle-infield prospect Kolten Wong. The two of them together is probably too high of a price for Peavy, but the White Sox can sweeten the pot with Alexei Ramirez, who would fill a serious need at shortstop for the Cardinals. The Cardinals will likely be resistant to adding that much payroll, so money may be as big a bone of contention as the talent being exchanged.
GM Kevin Towers has not openly admitted his interest in Peavy, but the recent implosions by Ian Kennedy and overall youth of the Arizona rotation mean the Diamondbacks will at least make a play for Peavy. Arizona scouts were present at his most recent start, though they conceivably could have been looking at Matt Lindstrom.
While they, too, have the prospects to net a player of Peavy's caliber, the cost in talent and dollars may deter Arizona from being serious contenders. The White Sox would likely ask for talented rookie Adam Eaton, but a deal involving blocked shortstop prospect Chris Owings and/or Triple-A third baseman Matt Davidson could certainly be reasonable.
After becoming a late entrant into the Matt Garza sweepstakes, Oakland has been named a dark-horse candidate for Jake Peavy. It seems highly unlikely that such a trade could be pulled off, as Oakland's minor-league system would be hard-pressed to construct a suitable package without surrendering top prospect Addison Russell, a very young shortstop with five-tool potential.
Another potential roadblock is Peavy's salary that, while fair, would be extremely high for the notoriously cash-strapped A's. A more likely scenario is that GM Billy Beane has leaked this information to try to raise the asking price for his American League rivals.
The Braves were probably not a serious player for Peavy until Tim Hudson suffered a gruesome and likely season-ending injury. While the rotation has been stellar for Atlanta, the Braves very well may seek to replace the beloved veteran Hudson with yet another beloved veteran in Peavy.
Unfortunately, the Braves do not make a great match for White Sox as trade partners. The Braves' farm system is just as weak as Chicago's and its strength is pitching, something the White Sox are less likely to target. In all likelihood, the White Sox will ask for hotshot rookie Evan Gattis and talks will not progress much from there. The Braves may be a suitor for reliever Matt Lindstrom, however, and the White Sox would probably love to find a spot on their roster for Joey Terdoslavich, who is fairly blocked in Atlanta.
The White Sox will likely receive calls on Peavy from several other teams that have yet to reveal serious interest. Injuries, like that to Tim Hudson, and general anxiety can lead teams to jump into the mix at the last moment. The White Sox can hold on to Peavy, but the market seems to favor sellers and they will not pass up on the right deal.
Jacob Long, a native to the Chicago area, is a writer for the Yahoo! Contributor Network. He has experience covering sports and news for WMC-TV in Memphis, TN and owns the film and TV blog The Renegade's Film Journal. Follow him on Twitter @jlongrc.
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- Jake Peavy
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- Matt Garza