Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More on Peavy, staying in the NL

OK, I get it, pitchers like to pitch in the NL because they also like to hit.

At season's end, Peavy said he would not accept a trade to the American League. Asked recently if that is still true, Peavy said he didn't “want to get into any speculation” on trade scenarios.

His agent, Barry Axelrod, acknowledged that the American League isn't Peavy's first choice.

Axelrod said Peavy also considers his hitting ability an advantage in the NL, because he is a better hitter than many opposing pitchers. Peavy batted .265 last season, one year after batting .233.

Does that seem like a good enough reason to use to want to stay in the NL? Is that much better than Mike Hampton choosing Colorado for their schools**? Why can't they just come out and tell us there's a better reason for staying in the NL: It's an easier place to pitch and win! Just ask Greg Maddux, Peavy's former teammate:

Peavy isn't the only pitcher who prefers the NL, which exempts the designated hitter. Greg Maddux, a friend and mentor of Peavy's, often has quipped that he stayed in the NL for his entire career because he's “not stupid.”
And the places his agent listed as possible NL markets where Peavy might waive his NTC and accept a trade to:
Among the cities Axelrod mentioned were Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and St. Louis.
Maybe Peavy looks at likely AL teams (for now, let's just consider the two financial superpowers, NY and Boston) and tells himself that he wants no part of pitching against the rest of the AL East. Could you blame him? I think if the Angels were to want to add even MORE pitching, that would be a good situation for Peavy. An hour or so north of his home in northern San Diego. A pretty weak AL West.

But if Peavy truly restricts his likely destinations to the NL, he hamstrings his management's ability to maximize his value. St. Louis might have some players to deal. The Mets might throw the rest of their farm system that they didn't deal to get Johan to get Peavy (What a rotation that would be: Johan, Peavy and whomever else they deem fit!).

I still hope that Peavy will want to land in a place that will keep him surrounded with the talent to compete year in and year out. I also hope he sees that place as the Yanks.

There's more about Peavy here.

And unless the Padres are knocked off their feet by an offer ---- think similar to the six prospects the Arizona Diamondbacks sent to Oakland in exchange for ace pitcher Dan Haren ---- they don't have to move Peavy, who is 86-62 with a 3.25 ERA in 199 career starts.

But Peavy ceases to become a bargain in 2010, when his salary climbs to $15 million and increases from there. If the team picks up its option for the 2013 season, Peavy will receive a $22 million salary.
And remember kids, if the team you are running is going to suck even with a high priced pitching stud, you can suck without him:

"Now we get hit with this," [Agent Barry] Axelrod said. "If he's here, he's going to make a significant portion of the team's salary. And if this is going to be a long-term build from within, it doesn't make sense to have Jake here if that's what they're going to do. If you're going to win 75 games a year, why pay him all that money?"
Also, if you can only win 75 games, you can do it without that pricey stud...and still turn a tidy profit. Which is good when your owner is in a nasty divorce battle and is considering selling the team to resolve that situation (something about community property vs. MLB's rules about ownership).

** Just to make your head spin on that Mike Hampton contract, did you know that with the compensation pick that the Mets got when Hampton left, they selected
David Wright? Crazy.

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