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Peavy Deal Makes White Sox Contenders Beyond '09

It's no secret that I've been openly rooting for the White Sox to do nothing at the trade deadline. There's a simple explanation for that stance. The Sox are competing against not one, but two mediocre opponents in a mediocre division. I covered most of this in my ill-timed The Sox Mum At The Deadline piece. Seriously, I hit publish and literally seconds later I saw the first tweet about Peavy, and had it posted as an update 3 minutes after the original posting time.

A quick summary of my position before the trade: The Sox are a mediocre team which has ably filled holes to keep themselves competitive in a mediocre division. They haven't been able to put .500 out of their rear view mirror and have virtually no shot at the Wild Card. But that being said, they are still in the thick of the division fight, even though they've never hit on all cylinders this season. 

That last line is important, because they'll need to stay in that fight without Jake Peavy, who won't even begin a minor league rehab assignment until mid-August and has tentatively targeted the NY/Bos trip at the end of the month for his return to the majors. The Sox will utilize their off-days to rejigger the rotation and minimize their exposure to the 5th starters spot, which they will apparently need only 3 times in the month of August, according to Kenny Williams. 

And that's why you won't find me jumping on my internet soapbox to dismantle this trade. I may have openly stated my preference for a stand pat deadline, but more accurately I didn't want them to throw away their future for a less than 50/50 shot at the division title; no prospects for rentals might have been a more accurate motto.

Peavy is anything but a rental. He's signed through 2012 with an option for 2013. This move is more about next year, about 2010 and beyond, than it is about this year, when Peavy is likely to make no more than 7 starts.

About That Contract

We'll ignore 2009. The Sox have obviously decided they can take his contract on. They'll pay a pro-rated portion of his '09 salary. And since the only other trades can be made after passing through waivers, which is pretty rare, it's not likely to affect the Sox decision making for the rest of the season.

  • 2010 -- $15M
  • 2011 -- $16M
  • 2012 -- $17M
  • 2013 -- $22M option vs. $4M buyout

Peavy's next three years are at essentially market value. He gave the Padres a home team discount of maybe a $1+M a year, so it's not like the Sox are getting a huge bargain. But what he does give the Sox is 4 very good starting pitchers under control for the next two years, and 3 for the three. (See White Sox Payroll Spreadsheet) 

And even though that contract would seem to preclude the White Sox from making some moves in the off-season, the payroll spreadsheet shows them with only about $60M in salary obligations on the books next year. That figure will get bumped to something like $75M when you factor in the major arbitration eligibles (Jenks, Danks, and Quentin) but still leaves plenty of room for them to add pieces (a mercenary CFer, Matt Holliday?) to their offense. 

I feel like I'm getting ahead of myself here. But the fact that Peavy won't even be available until the end of the month should tell you where the focus of this deal lies. I wanted the Sox to focus on the future, and that's exactly what they did. I can't complain in the slightest.

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There was a game Friday too. It was pretty fun to watch (after the first inning). That is my recap.

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