May 22, 2009

Bad day for the White Sox

Since I'm sure many people are still in complete shock and awe after yesterday's 20-1 blow the Twins gave to the Chicago White Sox, I'm going to switch topics a bit and discuss something that almost happened yesterday.

Many woke up yesterday to the "Breaking News" story on nearly every sports network that had the White Sox landing one of the games best pitchers. The White Sox and San Diego Padres had agreed in principle to send former N.L. Cy Young winner Jake Peavy to the southside in exchange for four prospects. The move would undoubtedly give the White Sox a huge boost and it would help anchor a talented, but struggling rotation.

The White Sox would have reportedly given up two known players, while the other two can only be speculated on at this point. Those two players are two left-handed pitchers in Clayton Richard and Aaron Poreda. Those two would be the headliners of the trade, while the other two players were being reported as two low-level prospects.

Richard is a 25-year-old sinker ball pitcher with good command. He throws strikes but projects as a #4-5 starter. Meanwhile, Poreda is a 22-year-old in Double-A whose repertoire is headlined by a blazing fastball which has hit triple digits. Poreda projects as a #2 or #3 starter.

You may be wondering, that's it? Well you wouldn't be the only one. If that is the best deal the Padres have been offered for one of the games best pitchers, it's really a sign of how this economy has effected some aspects of the game. While it still seems possible for the elite players to receive large deals (C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, etc.), players that would cost a team to mortgage any part of their future have far less value now than they did a couple years ago (again, unless they are elite). This begs the question, is Peavy elite? The simple answer must be "no."

Juan Cruz, despite being one of the best relievers on the market, was one player (of many) who couldn't land anywhere as a free agent. That had to do with the fact that his new team would have to forfeit their first round draft pick to sign him. Finally, the Royals caved and signed Cruz for well-below his predicted value at two-years and $6 million. The Padres look as if they are in the same situation with Peavy. Peavy's situation is somewhat different in that he is already signed through 2013 and is due $48 million in the next three years (not including what he's due for the rest of this season). Still $16 million for a pitcher like Peavy isn't completely unreasonable, yet in today's economy, a team is not willing to acquire both a large sum of salary while surrendering a top prospect or two, at least prospects better than Richard or Poreda.

To sum all of this up, the White Sox are one of a few teams in baseball that aren't scared by this economy and will take on a large amount of money if it improves their ball club. However, Peavy did the rest of the American League Central a favor when he declined to waive his no-trade clause. Although last year, the Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers have taught us that nothing is a guarantee (when acquiring a high-level player or two), it is great to see a defending division winner not acquire one of the better pitchers in baseball (even if he does have the "Petco Factor").

Game Ball #42

May 21, 2009 vs. Chicago White Sox
Joe Mauer - Designated Hitter
Line: 3-4, 2 runs, 2 doubles, home run, 6 RBI

* On a Twins-related note, do you think Gardenhire goes with Mauer again in the two-hole tonight or does his cutty buddy Matt Tolbert and his 3-run home run move him back in there?