White Sox will not exercise Peavy’s $22 million club option for 2013
Jake Peavy won the National League Cy Young Award in 2007 with the San Diego Padres, and he recovered from a rare surgery to fix a potentially career-ending injury. Now, it appears the the Chicago White Sox right-hander will add another chapter to his 11-year Major League career – free agent.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, the White Sox will not exercise Peavy’s $22 million club option for 2013 and instead choose the $4 million buyout. As Heyman pointed out, the team could still bring him back on a new deal, and Peavy has expressed his satisfaction with playing on the South Side, especially under first-year manager Robin Ventura. Yet, if the White Sox decline his option, the 31-year-old right-hander will likely be the most sought after Zack Greinke.
Los Angeles Angels’ right-hander Dan Haren and Tampa Bay righty James Shields will also be in demand if their respective teams do not pick up their options. Kyle Lohse, Hiroki Kuroda and Edwin Jackson should generate extensive interest as well.
Aside from Greinke, Peavy is the only name on that list viewed as an ace-caliber starter. Peavy, who is fully healthy for the first time since 2008, is 11-11 with a 3.26 ERA, a 1.11 WHIP and a .237 opponent’s batting average this season. Over 29 starts and 198.2 innings, he has allowed 176 hits and has 177 strikeouts.
Though left-hander Chris Sale leads the White Sox rotation with 17 wins, a 2.82 ERA and 181 strikeouts, it is Peavy who has the stature of an ace. Peavy’s veteran influence has helped young starters like Sale and Jose Quintana, and the Mobile, Ala. native has regained his reputation as one of the most formidable arms in the majors.
After winning the Cy Young in 2007 with a 19-6 record and a 2.54 ERA, Peavy was 10-11 with a 2.85 ERA in 2008 for the woeful Padres. He suffered an ankle injury in 2009, when he made 16 starts, including three for the White Sox after he was dealt there on July 31.
In 2010, it appeared that Peavy’s career might be over when he tore his right latissimus dorsi tendon fully off the bone. No Major Leaguer had been known to completely tear the tendon, which connects the latissimus dorsi muscle to the humerus bone and assists with transferring the force of pitching from the legs to the arm. Peavy had surgery done in July and returned last year, when he was 7-7 with a 4.92 ERA in 18 starts.
This season, with his strength and confidence back, he has been a mainstay in a White Sox rotation that has been without John Danks. Veteran left-hander Mark Buehrle departed last off-season for Miami.
The White Sox are 81-67 and have a 2.5-game lead over Detroit in the American League Central, so the off-season is far from their minds. When it does arrive, they will have decisions to make about Peavy, catcher A.J. Pierzynski, reliever Brett Myers, starter Francisco Liriano and third baseman Kevin Youkilis.