Rick Hahn and Jake Peavy spoke to the media about the two-year, $29 million extension the Sox announced earlier today, giving some context to answer how, why and when the deal got done.
About the timing
Hahn said the White Sox first approached Peavy about a deal on Oct. 8, and it picked up steam over the last few days. They wanted to sign Peavy before the open market made it more difficult, as Hahn called the starting pitching market "robust," and said that a pitcher of Peavy's quality would probably fall out of his price range when other teams could bid. Peavy who has never been a true free agent, had no desire to try it this time around, saying, "Free agency wasn't something I was interested in unless I had to be."
About the contract
The unexpectedly short length of the contract was "absolutely key" in getting the deal done, Hahn said. The ability to delay the buyout payments helped, too. The buyout was originally going to be part of the 2013 budget, but now it's spread out from 2016 to 2019. Peavy said he was open to give-and-take between the two sides, because "you want to come back on a deal that doesn't hamstring the team."
"I never wanted to play any games with my desire to stay with Chicago," Peavy said. "I was open and up front about it in hopes that it would work out." He praised the organization for their upfront nature, and also thanked the staff and fans for sticking by him through his injury-marred seasons and allowing him to show what he could do as a fully healthy pitcher ("It's hard to be the leader you want to be when you're hurt.").
Hahn echoed the sentiments, calling Peavy a clubhouse leader over two years, and a staff leader this past season. With 219 innings, Peavy showed the traits of being one of the league's most durable pitchers, and his work to get back to 100 percent showed his dedication.
About Gavin Floyd
"I realize at times it's been up and down with Gavin," Hahn said. "I hope it doesn't go unnoticed the value he brings to any rotation," thanks to his ability to give the Sox 180-190 innings with a quality ERA in a tough environment for pitchers.
Peavy likes having another right-hander in the rotation, saying Floyd's talents are apparent and pointed to the way he pitched after coming off the DL. Hahn said
"It's nice to be sitting here before Halloween and feeling like, if you do nothing, the starting rotation at least is going to be a strength."
He said that the Sox have six starters and a couple more options, which should help John Danks get back into the swing of the season. Danks has been "hitting all the milestones in his rehab" according to Hahn, and he's on pace to be ready for Opening Day if he encounters no setbacks. If he's not absolutely ready to pitch every five days, the Sox are insulated against the urge to rush him.
About the other free agents
Hahn didn't see the Sox making a qualifying offer toward any of the remaining free agents, and he gave updates on each of their situations.
Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers: Hahn said he had "a really nice conversation" with Youkilis when calling to let him know they weren't exercising his option, and he did the same with Brett Myers, saying, "We'd like to have both of them back," but the elements weren't in place to get something done as quickly as the Sox could with Peavy.
Third base remains a question mark with or without Youkilis, because he didn't give any indication about Brent Morel's stock. When asked about if the potential starter at third, Hahn said, "We will see. It's Oct. 30th."
A.J. Pierzynski: Like Youkilis and Myers, Pierzynski is at the point where the Sox will let him talk to other teams and report back about his market value.
Peavy said, "We wish him the best in free agency and obviously we all hope hope he comes back," but said if Pierzynski finds a better deal elsewhere, the players will give their support to Tyler Flowers. "Everybody thinks the world of Tyler Flowers as a catcher," he added.
Peavy also said about Pierzynski, "Nobody has meant more to Chicago over this time in a White Sox uniform," which is dubious claim, but you know where he's coming from.