October 21, 2008
Where Will Peavy Play in 2009?

The New York Mets have announced they want in on the Jake Peavy sweepstakes. With that said, can the Mets really be considered a legitimate contender for his services? Before possible scenarios can be discussed, let’s take a look at what has happened so far. In stating his preference to stay in the National League, Peavy listed the Astros, Cubs, Cardinals, Braves, and Dodgers as his top choices, while hinting that the Yankees might be an option with some convincing. The Mets have expressed interest in Peavy as well and hope he will consider the organization as a legitimate option.

Peavy is under contract for the next five seasons through 2013, and, at 27, he will be under control through his prime. His salary is as follows:

2009 – $11 million
2010 – $15 million
2011 – $16 million
2012 – $17 million
2013 – $22 million option with $4 million buyout

Due to his age, career totals (3.25 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.96 K/9), and below market salary figures, the Padres will ask for as much, if not more than the Twins received for Johan Santana. The Padres initial asking price is a young center fielder and two close to big league ready starting pitchers. This piece explores possible trade scenarios and whether or not the Mets have what it takes to land the big one.

Trade possibilities are listed in order based which package best fills the Padres wish list while avoiding untouchable players, and best utilizing each organizations organizational depth.

1. Yankees – Austin Jackson, Philip Hughes, Ian Kennedy

Are the Yankees this desperate? Maybe. While I never recommend dealing low, the Yankees, in perpetual win now mode, are feeling pressure to make major changes this off season. Entering 2009, Chien-Ming Wang, Joba Chamberlain, and Alfredo Aceves look like the three best bets currently under Yankee control to fill three of five available rotation slots should Andy Pettitte and Mike Mussina both retire. Hughes/Kennedy/Jackson is a steep price, but adding Peavy to anchor the rotation makes a major statement. As for the Padres, they add a potential #1 or #2 in Hughes, #3 or #4 in Kennedy and a top-50 overall prospect in Austin Jackson. Quite a bit considering Hughes/Kennedy were untouchable at this time last year.

2. Dodgers – Matt Kemp, James McDonald, Scott Elbert

Kemp is easily the most accomplished player to appear in any offer. However, the Dodgers’ graduation of so many quality major league talents from prospect status over the past couple of years has yet to be replenished system-wide, limiting the organization’s options in trade talks. McDonald projects as a solid #3, while Elbert is a bit of a wild card—he’s an immense talent recovering from shoulder surgery, which caused him to only pitch 40 or so innings out of the bullpen. From the Padres’ perspective, adding a player with the raw tools of Matt Kemp is never a bad thing. However, the organization is dealing Peavy to spread more talent throughout, and this option might seem a little Kemp-heavy.

3. Braves – Jordan Schafer, Charlie Morton, Tommy Hanson

2008 was a disaster for Jordan Schafer, as he followed up a monster 2007 performance with a 50-game ban for HGH and less than expected numbers in Double-A prompting some to question whether his breakout was simply a product of cheating. Tommy Hanson just keeps dominating; he has followed up a dominating 2008 with a 0.00 ERA through three Arizona Fall League appearances. He currently projects as a #3 with some feeling he could peak as a little more. Morton’s season can be split into two parts: pre-MLB and post-MLB. In Triple-A, he posted a 2.05 ERA and .181 BAA en route to Atlanta. In Atlanta, his numbers took a nose dive to the tune of a 6.15 ERA and .273 BAA with a quality start every four or so trips to the mound. From all accounts, his problems have been mental and he’s only a dose of confidence away from being a productive major leaguer. As for the Padres, this deal would spread around the talent pretty equally, but likely would not produce any star-caliber talent.

4. Cardinals – Colby Rasmus, Jess Todd, Clayton Mortensen

A healthy Jaime Garcia would make this offer much more tempting. However, Garcia’s Tommy John surgery leaves him shelved for the entire 2009 season. The Cardinals have done a great job drafting replenishing what was once the worst minor league system in all of baseball. Adding Peavy is an opportunity to show the baseball world just how productive their system has been. Rasmus is a consensus top-10 overall prospect, and both Todd/Mortensen project as #3/4 types with some upside. For the Padres, Rasmus is easily the key to this deal. I can see a scenario where the Padres would need a fourth player included to get something done. Catcher Bryan Anderson or Outfielder John Jay could be options which would also fill organizational needs.

5. Cubs – Felix Pie, Sean Marshall, Jeff Samardzija

People forget Pie is still only 23 years old. He regressed some in 2008, but after a .362/.410/.563 2007, I might also be a little annoyed if my spot went to the decrepit Jim Edmonds. A change of scenery might be just what the doctor ordered. Marshall is another player who just needs a shot. He’s a huge presence at six-foot-seven, and his sub 4.00 ERA the past two seasons means he is ready to take his rightful spot in a rotation somewhere. Despite his success, Samardzija as the third piece in this deal is about right. His performance has been up-and-down since his signing and he’s not a sure thing by any means. As with the Cardinals offer, the Cubs would likely need a fourth player to cement a deal like this, leaving the question of who that player might be. Would Tyler Colvin, Jose Ceda, or Donald Veal be enough to get it done? I’m not so sure.

6. Mets – Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, Bobby Parnell

Thin on overall talent and short on major league ready starters at higher levels, the Mets are a long shot to land the services of Jake Peavy. Adding Daniel Murphy to the mix would be a big addition, but the minor league system’s bones would really be picked clean. Martinez is hard to project in center field, but has a wealth of talent. Niese is a solid lefty with a third starter’s projection. Parnell is fringy as a starter, but could contribute in a number of roles. I can’t help but bring up the question of how much better this deal would look if Lastings Milledge could be entered into the equation. For the Padres, a fourth player is a must, especially since Martinez requires more seasoning in the minors. With Matt Antonelli bombing at Triple-A, Murphy would be at home as a second baseman in a division which does not value great defense from the position.

7. Astros – Hunter Pence, ???, ???

Next! I know Peavy wants to play there, but the Astros’ system is simply pathetic. It lacks anything and everything needed to land a player of Jake Peavy’s talent. Even if they centered the deal around Hunter Pence, there’s just not enough there.

The good news for the Mets is that the Dodgers and Yankees have not been making these types of moves in recent years, instead choosing to hoard their minor league talent. The Cubs and Cardinals have also been doing this to a lesser extent. The Braves were sodomized in their trade for Mark Teixeira in 2007 and may opt to avoid taking a huge risk with so many holes to fill at the big-league level. All this does give the Mets the opportunity to climb the ladder if truly motivated. However, the bad news remains that the organizations above them simply have more in the way of talent to offer should this truly become a bidding war.

11 Responses to “Where Will Peavy Play in 2009?”

  1. Comment posted by metswin2009 on October 21, 2008 at 12:47 am (#880364)

    FMart going bye bye? Im scared!!!!

  2. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 21, 2008 at 7:13 am (#880366)

    3 Good players, one of whom is possibly great, each controlled for 6 years apiece for 4 market-valued years of one–admittedly excellent–player. I hope the Mets aren’t this stupid. Please say the Mets aren’t this stupid.

  3. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 21, 2008 at 7:15 am (#880367)

    Following the link, Graziano only states vaguely that the Mets have “interest”. He does not cite any real rumors involving them, so there’s grounds for hope.

  4. Comment posted by MightyJoeOrsulak on October 21, 2008 at 7:20 am (#880368)

    And tripling the post–sorry. If it’s a 4 player deal involving F!, Niese, and Murphy, I’m done with baseball except for when I actively pull for the Mets to lose and for Peavy to suck so that Omar could look like an idiot. I might go back to the Mets sometime in 2020 when the next Reyes and Wright come along and they have competent ownership and management.

    But again, Omar did not trade a single stud for Santana. He held out and seemed willing to back off if necessary. I thus doubt that Omar makes the deal even without Murphy, and I can’t imagine him doing it with Murphy.

  5. Comment posted by Danny on October 21, 2008 at 7:56 am (#880370)

    You can’t talk about Peavy and neglect to mention that this is a guy who plays in an extreme pitcher’s park and in a division with some of the worst offenses in baseball. Not to mention a guy with a violent delivery (which for all the hubbub about K-Rod, this is more more troubling for a starter than for a reliever).

    Is Peavy a fine pitcher? Absolutely. Is he worth Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese and Robert Parnell? No way.

  6. Comment posted by Doc live from the land of the apples on October 21, 2008 at 8:04 am (#880373)

    I pretty sure I read Peavy has made a short list of places he wants to pitch and New York is not on it. I’m done after Glavine with guys who really don’t want to be here.

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  8. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on October 21, 2008 at 8:08 am (#880375)

    I’m done after Glavine with guys who really don’t want to be here.

    I absolutely agree, Doc.

    Besides, it’s really a moot point to even discuss Peavy because with so many other holes to fill, the Mets simply don’t have enough chips to trade for Peavy.

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  10. Comment posted by MetsFanSince71 on October 21, 2008 at 8:09 am (#880376)

    I really believe Peavy will end up with the Dodgers or (yikes!) Braves.

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  12. Comment posted by Chris McCown on October 22, 2008 at 7:14 am (#881533)

    Not only do the Mets not have the pieces to get Peavy, but even if they did they already made this deal last year for someone better. You can’t keep depleting the farm system year-after-year for that “one” player away. The Mets already have the core, they need the supporting cast.

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  14. Comment posted by Mike Newman on October 22, 2008 at 9:56 am (#881577)

    In Response:

    1. I don’t see Peavy ending up in L.A. Dealing him to a division rival is usually a big no-no unless you are the Marlins and dumping salary.

    2. The package the Mets dealt last season for Johan has turned out to be less than expected, but it was a significant amount at the time. Here’s a review of the rankings:

    Guerra – BA #35/100
    Gomez – BA #52/100
    Mulvey – Borderline top 100
    Humber – Likely in the 150-200 range

    F-Mart will probably rank in the 30-50 range when 2009 prospect lists are released. Parnell is viewed as a lesser prospect than Humber. I can see Niese in the 60-80 range entering 2009. Murphy is no longer eligible for prospect status, but his value takes a serious hit should he not make a successful transition to second base.

    It can be argued the Johan deal was for more at the time. Unfortunately for the Twins, the four players they received all underachieved in 2008. Mets fans need to be careful not to overrate their own guys. None of the players mentioned are currently considered “elite” level prospects. It’s more like one very good, two good, and an average guy.

    As a guy who specializes in prospects and minor league stuff, I’m not a big fan of dealing prospects under most circumstances. I also agree that another 3 or 4 prospects for one major leaguer would strip the franchise even further. However, the Mets wonderful 2007 IFA class and their not being able to deal 2008 picks because of draft rules means help is on the way even if they pull the trigger once again.

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  16. Comment posted by Peter H on October 22, 2008 at 12:52 pm (#881833)

    Granted, many prospects don’t pan out, but that’s all the more reason for developing as many as you can. If only one of Murpy/F-Mart/Niese/Parnell develops into a solid major-league ballplayer – and I think that’s a faily pessimistic scenario – that gives the Mets 6 years of below-market value. If 2 of those guys develop into solid major-league ballpayers, that gives the Mets 12 years of below-market value.

    Compare the 2 hypothetical scenarios in 2010:

    Scenario A:
    Daniel Murphy, .280/.350/.450 adequate 2B, $750,000
    Jon Niese, 100+ ERA, 150 IP, 25 GS, $500,000
    Fernando Martinez – struggles at major-league level, sent down to AAA
    Bobby Parnell – released in offseason after bombing in 2009

    Scenario B:
    Jake Peavy – 125+ ERA, 210 IP, 32 GS, $15,000,000

    IMO, there’s no question the Mets would get a better value from Scenario A than Scenario B.