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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Jake Peavy trade is a good one for Boston

The Red Sox front office is smart. They have a significant amount of resources, and they use them well. In the trade announced late Tuesday night, in which they sent Jose Iglesias to Detroit in a three-way deal for Jake Peavy, Boston used those resources well.

Within a very deep farm system, the Red Sox have a strength at shortstop. Jose Iglesias was producing well in the big leagues, Xander Bogaerts is knocking on the door, and even Deven Marrero lower down in the system. Iglesias is an interesting case study, and will be in his career in Detroit and beyond. From 2009 when he was signed as a free agent from Cuba, he has been billed as a terrific fielder with a very weak bat. That was true through 2012, but all of the sudden this year he figured out how to hit. Or, did he?

Iglesias, in 231 plate appearances (through Monday) is hitting .330/.377/.410. A low walk rate and a relatively low slugging percentage are no surprise, but his batting average has been tremendous this year. His BABIP this year is .377, which is also tremendously high. This one is actually fairly easy to figure out, either by looking at these numbers or even watching him play. Iglesias gets a lot of infield hits, a lot of bloopers, and has been aided by a lot of luck this year. We've already seen him regress since the All-Star break (only 10 games through Monday), to the point of .125/.125/.125. There was never a chance of him hitting consistently in the mid-.300s, as anybody who knew anything about him would tell you. Iglesias will always be a valuable player because of his glove. His absolute ceiling is an Omar Vizquel-type player, though not necessarily for 24 years. Detroit will enjoy him, but Boston is making a shrewd move by dealing him at what is probably the peak of his value.

Acquiring Jake Peavy is another example of the proper use of resources by the Red Sox. Peavy is signed through 2014, and is scheduled to make $14.5 million for that year. Boston can afford to pay this without much of a doubt. Perhaps this even will allow for a trade of Ryan Dempster in the off-season, as he also is signed through 2014, for $13 million. However for now, this leaves Boston's rotation in an excellent state. Brandon Workman, who had 3 solid-to-great starts, can be a valuable piece in the bullpen. When Clay Buchholz returns, if he ever does, Dempster may be relegated to the bullpen as well. And of course, Peavy himself brings a front-line starter to a playoff contender, a value that cannot be overstated. We have learned almost every year that making a deadline deal guarantees nothing, but this will certainly help Boston's quest for the division, and October success.

David Kramer

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