Chicago White Sox v Washington Nationals

It was speculated for much of the off-season that, back before they found a dance partner in Jeffrey Loria, the Toronto Blue Jays had been interested in acquiring Jake Peavy of the Chicago White Sox. The right-hander had a $22-million club option for this season, and for much of the late season, and October, it seemed as though the White Sox weren’t going to exercise it. They were rumoured to be more interested in dealing him in much the same fashion that the Angels did with Ervin Santana, who was sent to the Royals, and attempted to do with Dan Haren.

There wasn’t much written about the possibility around here– I found myself zeroing in more on the cheaper Haren as a possibility– but it was certainly a thing on Twitter and in the comments. That is, until Peavy re-worked and extended his contract with the Sox not long after Rick Hahn officially took over as GM from the promoted Kenny Williams, at which point there wasn’t a whole lot of reason for us to keep thinking about the well-paid ex-Padre.

In January, however, after the introductory press conference for Jose Reyes, word started filtering out that Alex Anthopoulos had come, in his words (per John Lott of the National Post) “very, very close” to making a major trade prior to the Marlins one, and that it would have had a similarly large impact on payroll as the deal the Jays ended up doing with the Marlins.

Immediately folks started to speculate on what such a deal might have looked like. I racked my brain by going division by division through the league, searching for possibilities– the strongest among them being with Cleveland, the White Sox (yes, for Peavy), and the Cubs. Shi Davidi, at the time, zeroed in closely on Peavy, as well as his teammate Gavin Floyd, the Angels pitchers, and possibly even someone from the San Francisco Giants. He also made clear that whatever this deal was, it would have been shorter term than what the Jays did with the Marlins– which also pointed to a straight-up acquisition of Peavy and his $22-million option– but offered us nothing more concrete than that.

Taking it a step further, back in mid-February I was contacted by a reader who had claimed that a friend had run into Paul Beeston, and spoken to him about the off-season. In the course of the alleged conversation, “Beeston” had offered an additional nugget: the fact that the acquisition, a “big name pitcher,” had ended up re-signing with his old team. This, I said at the time, “points directly at the White Sox’ Jake Peavy.”

A quick look at the excellent Transaction Tracker at MLB Trade Rumors, shows that between the extension Cole Hamels inked with the Phillies in July, and New Year’s Day, there were really only two “name” pitchers to either extend with their current club, or hit the open market only to return: Jake Peavy and Anibal Sanchez.

If you really want to pretend Hiroki Kuroda was going anywhere else, or that Jeremy Guthrie is a “big name” guy, I suppose you could include them as well, but in those cases the point is actually moot, as neither they nor Sanchez quite fit the timeline– all three didn’t re-sign until after the Jays had completed their big move. Peavy, on the other hand, signed a contract extension that was announced officially more than two weeks prior, on October 30th, after it seemed certain for much of the month that he’d hit the open market, with rumours suggesting the White Sox would buy out, rather than exercise his $22-million contract option for 2013.

Now, obviously the information I was going on there, while pointing in the right direction, it turns out, wasn’t exactly anything remotely close to rock solid. So I don’t bring all that up to disparage Shi Davidi for bothering to confirm yesterday that it was indeed Peavy who the Jays had almost dealt for, or anything like that. He did the actual work of getting real sources to tell him so, putting the question to rest concretely; I just ran with some doubly-anonymous information (making clear that I was doing as much) out there and saw that it actually fit– unlike most of the other times that I present anonymous information from dubious sources that may or may not have any basis in reality.

I can’t say I’m not slightly chuffed to have been on the right track, but that’s about the extent of it.

Or… OK, another reason for chuffage? That this didn’t fucking happen and the off-season went the way that it did. No disrespect to Peavy, who had great things to say about the Jays and how the off-season worked out in Davidi’s piece, but at $22-million for a single season… uh… no thanks.

Comments (86)

  1. I guess the alternative is maybe the Jays have less of a team this year but greater payroll flexibility and prospects going forward?

    I know it’s not this simple, but I think the Jays would be better off having one year of Peavy at $22 million than three years of Buehrle at $48 million after the Marlins covered his signing bonus.

    • Good thing Burhrle wasn’t the only one in that trade then, huh?

      • Well it’s all hypothetical. But unless the Marlins absolutely insisted that Buehrle had to be a part of the deal (which they very well may have), the Jays could have still done the Marlins trade sans MB and the Dickey deal.

        As Keith Law suggested when the trade went down, it looked like the Marlins preferred the pure salary dump over eating a bit of Buehrle’s contract and getting more prospects in return.

        Buehrle is overpaid. But he’s still a good midrotation lefty who probably would have been worth around 3/42 on the open market if I had to venture a guess.

        • I highly doubt you have the pieces to do the Dickey deal if you don’t eat the Buehrle contract while getting Johnson and Reyes. The Marlins need more value back if they’re keeping that contract, especially if they’re giving up the two best things they could attach it to (assuming they weren’t interested in moving Stanton).

          • Read what I wrote below Stoeten. I think you are overestimating just how much Buehrle is really overpaid. Not to mention that the Jays couldn’t necessarily buy reliable midrotation pitching as easily as other teams prior to The Trade.

            • Buehrle was worth 1.9 fWAR in 2012.

              • Anyone who uses fWAR to judge Buehrle is an idiot.

                • I’m pretty green when it comes to advanced stats, but could you explain why you think fWAR is a poor instrument with which to measure Buehrle?
                  I’m assuming you specifically mean it doesn’t accurately represent Buehrle’s value, and not that it’s a generally useless measure.

                  • I’m a newb as well, but from what I could gather, fWAR ignores defence since it is outside the pitcher’s control. In Buehrle’s case, however, being a golf-glove fielder is a significant part of his value as a pitcher.

                    Or perhaps I am in way over my head.

                    • ODB you are correct. Gold glove fielder (as well as having a great pickoff move) are outside of the FIP model.

                  • That’s right Jaymz. fWAR (which is FIP based) is useful for most pitchers. But when the sample size is this large, it’s pretty clear rWAR is better for Buehrle.

                • And why is that? Because I’d probably say anyone who uses FanGraph’s $/WAR estimate, and their aging curve, and then tosses out their WAR for BR’s because it doesn’t serve their argument, and then expects people not to notice the cherry picking, might actually be the idiot.

                  • You’re a towel!

                  • It would be like using fWAR for RA Dickey or Matt Cain. It simply does not properly capture his value.

                    Buehrle’s ERA has outperformed his FIP in 10 of the 12 years he has been a f/t starter. In the other 2 years, his ERA outperformed his xFIP.

                    FIP is very useful to evaluate most pitchers. But it’s pretty ridiculous when the sample size is this large to be married to a FIP-based metric.

                    Instead of just using the glossary at fangraphs, it might help to occasionally, you know, read the articles.

                    • @Stoeten

                      I’m not sure what you think the point of googling that article is. I’ve read it before and, while interesting, Cameron’s theory doesn’t answer any questions definitively and the comment section is indicative of that.

                      You should be focussing on Buehrle’s ERA- and the group of pitchers Cameron groups with Buehrle (pitchers with a long track record of outperforming their FIP). It’s the reason I am not using Buehrle’s fWAR. Because he has a long track record of outperforming it.

                    • I should be using the part of the article that agrees with what you want to be agreed with and ignoring the parts where it shows that to be wrong? You’re fucking hopeless.

                      You’ve dug in on a dumb argument here. It’s OK. No need to keep going with it.

                    • Show me the part of the article that agrees with what you are saying.

                      Sadly, you are much better at throwing out pejoratives than using evidence to back up a claim.

                    • The article handholds you through several ways in which he does not belong in the category of FIP-busting pitchers that you want to place him in. It’s all in that big part that comes after the first paragraph, FYI. You know, the one with all the words?

                    • The article suggests a theory as to why Buehrle might be slightly worse than other pitchers who outperformed their FIP/xFIP so substantially.

                      Cameron even suggests his theory “doesn’t bring his ERA completely in line with his FIP or xFIP, but it cuts the gap by 29%”. So this article isn’t really an answer, is it.

                      Learn to read.

                    • Look, I can concede the fWAR isn’t a good measure of Buehrle. Clearly. I posted an article that said as much– though it’s not as bad as you initially insisted either, no matter how much you want to believe that 29% is nothing, if you even want to believe in the way Cameron chose the rate to adjust Buehrle’s numbers to. Which… of course you do, because at least this doesn’t look THAT bad for you, right? But at the same time you’ll still quite happily downplay it as “theory,” just in case someone wants to see that code word and throw it out altogether, because this is exactly the kind of shit that you always do. Twisting and turning and posturing like an authority and using flashy words you don’t understand (seriously, look up false dichotomy, just once, please), until you get to the point where you’ve taken whatever is being discussed so far from the original subject that there’s enough ground conceded on the other shit you’ve thrown into the argument that you can pretend somehow that you’ve “won.”

                      Even now– actually for several comments now, not that the smart guy would have noticed– I’m conceding something fairly major here (granted, it’s pretty irrelevant to whether or not the Jays would have been able to pass on Buehrle’s value-stripped, backloaded deal and still got the other pieces from Miami for the same price). So you get what you want! You can feel like you’ve won. And I get what I want too, because holy fucking good riddance.

                    • When I am saying “theory”, I am not using it to downplay Cameron’s work. Look at the title, read the article and the comments.Cameron is trying to figure out part of what FIP does not capture for MB. Good for him. It is an interesting article. But by no means does it validate FIP as a measure of what Buehrle has done. Obviously. And you’re right. 29% is not nothing. Thank you captain obvious.

                      I’m still not sure why you brought up the article other than to prove your Google skills. It certainly isn’t good evidence for your stance.

                      I’m estimating Buehrle’s market value is around 3/42 and that fWAR isn’t a good measure for him. But I’ll play devil’s advocate and indulge you.

                      Using the 50/30/20 method and conservatively estimating a win at $6 mil/yr average on the open market for the next 3 years, here is Buehrle’s estimated value.

                      Fangraphs: $40.7 million
                      Baseball Reference: $57.6 million

                      Splitting the difference, with which I don’t necessarily agree, works out to $49.15 million. Which is more than my estimate of 3/42. And this isn’t Roy Halladay where there is an obvious physical change that significantly undercuts his value.

                      Based on his past performance, I’m quite sure AA could have dumped Buehrle on another team and, at best, eat maybe $5 – $8 million but get back good prospects in the process. And, hey, he’s done it before by taking on Teahan to get Colby Rasmus.

                      And conceding obvious points and signing off with the “I give up, you win!” horseshit does nothing to prove whatever ridiculous ideas you had when you started this. But, hey, you seem to be making progress in conceding your errors so good for you.

    • The term, “salary dump” comes to mind

    • Holy shit i think someone got a crush on you Stoeten

  2. Gonna have to view that as a bullet dodged.

  3. I think they could have gotten Peavy and still made the Marlins deal but without Buehrle. Even with Buehrle i’ll take Peavy over Happ

    • Seriously?

      Buehrle was more the poison pill the had to swallow to get the good players with reasonable contracts than some kind of big get.

      • At least this poison pill stays healthy. On good day he can look like a No.3 and on a bad day he can look like a very expensive No.5., but you know that he is going to pitch. The trickle down advantage of that has value.

        • Exactly. Just not close to $20-million per year value.

          • The Jays are paying Buehrle $16 million/year after deducting the Marlins payment. He’s underpaid this year and is overpaid for the next two years.

          • By the time 2015 rolls around, I’m not sure if Buehrle’s 19 mil is even in the top 20 AAV contracts in the game. This could look relatively better in time.

          • There is enough of a sample size on Buehrle where he should clearly be judged on rWAR over fWAR (possibly because he is such a good defender).

            Buehrle was worth 3.5 rWAR last year. Assuming he declines 0.5 rWAR/year (which is what they often use on fangraphs), he’s projected to put up 7.5 rWAR over the 3 years remaining on the contract.

            The cost of wins is also going up. Even if we (conservatively) estimate the price of a win as $6 milllion, Buehrle projects to be worth around $45 million over 3 years.

            He’s underpaid this year and overpaid for the next two years. Overall, though, 3/48 wasn’t completely out of whack with what teams pay for wins on the open market.

            • I’m optimistic that Buehrle has 3 decent years in the tank.

              Crafty lefties who “know how to pitch”(Tablered!) and stay healthy well into their 30′s have some history remain relevant.

      • I think you’re overstating this.

        Remember, the Marlins paid the Jays $8.5 million in essence to cover the remaining amount of Buehrle’s signing bonus ($3 million) and the difference between John Buck and Jeff Mathis ($5 million).

        https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0Ah4PW47PiAi-dEZTVThQdHRaV0dIanNORDBtaDZFY3c&output=html

        So could the Jays have done the swap without Buehrle and the $8.5 million payment? I would think so.

        • If the Jays could have done it without Buehrle, why in the world would they have done it with him included? It makes zero sense, sorry. You can replace his value so much more cheaply. You’re basically calling them complete morons by suggesting they needlessly took the back end of that deal.

          • You are basing this on the assumption that the Jays did not want a pitcher like Buehrle. Considering the makeup of the rotation and where they are on the win curve, Buehrle’s predictability (in theory, at least) is very valuable.

            And give me some alternatives of how the Jays could get a pitcher of Buehrle’s calibre for free.

            Because that’s kinda what this is, right? The Jays absorb the entire contract without giving up prospects instead of the Marlins eating more money and asking for more prospects in return.

            • Three free agent pitchers signed contracts worth more than what the Jays owe Buehrle this winter, so a great many guys would have been better options in this fantasy world of yours where the Jays could have done the deal without Buehrle’s portion of it. The fact, which you cite, that the Marlins paid the Jays to unload Buehrle, should tell you all you need to know.

              • Is your parochial line of thinking rooted in an inability to do math or just willful ignorance?

                Buehrle is a little overpaid. The Jays likely absorbed the extra money because he is still talent (much like Peavy) and talent that the Jays likely would have had to pay a premium on had they gone the free agent route.

                What exactly do you think Buehrle is worth as a free agent considering what he signed for last year? I’m tossing out 3/42 based on what he has done, the aging curve, inflation etc.

                It would help if you actually said something useful instead of thinking you have the answer.

                • Parochial. Hahahahahaha. No, I’m not interested in your sad little ego trip, thanks.

                  • Please. It’s quite clear where this is going. Instead of acknowledging your error in a comment exchange, you will reflect a little bit and do it later much like you did on a podcast recently in regards to “chemistry”.

                    Thank you, by the way, for conforming with my opinion (and Drew’s opinion) in its entirety. That’s step one in your evolution. Step two will be to do it during the actual argument.

                    Godspeed champ.

                    • Did I say something about an ego trip on your part? Can’t imagine where I was getting that from.

                  • Parochial, Parochial in a baseball argument?? LOL you know its not going well when you resort to using big words to try and mask a dumb opinion.

                    • You know you’re dumb when you type “parochial in a baseball argument” as though it means something.

                      And now I know you are dumb too.

    • Seems unlikely we’d have gotten Reyes without taking on Buehrle’s contract, but who knows. Or worse, Miami ends up making the deal with Boston instead.

      The Buehrle contract sucks, but I’m sure glad we ended up with 6 years of Reyes instead of 1 year of Peavy.

      • I think you mean 3 years of Reyes as he’ll likely be injured for the other 3 years of that contract

        *ducks*

    • You’d rather have the $22M guy for one year, whom also has declining velocity, than the cheaper option in Happ, who is a quality #5 starter (possibly #3-4 in most rotations), and is under team control for a maximum of 2 more years?

      Yikes.

      • If Happ is your #5, Romero was your #4 and the #6 would have been garbage.

        1 year of Peavy at $22 million wouldn’t have been bad at all. As much as I like Happ, he wasn’t even in the same ballpark as Peavy heading into 2013.

      • My mistake, he’s signed for next season also, not including the player option. He’s still expensive as all hell though.

  4. I remember the conversation and Stoeten you deserve to be chuffed ( had to look that one up).You took a bit of heat at the time. Kudos to you.

  5. Hypothetically, if the Jays did in fact trade for Peavy, I believe The Trade still would have happened as it did, but we wouldn’t be watching Dickey every 5th day.

  6. side note……they arrested a guy in the Boston Marathon Bombing just now

  7. At the risk of sounding like an enormous dick (which I already know I am am but will continue typing for some masochistic reason), and while stating firmly that I value human life above all other things, and that sport is merely a diversion from what is most important in life…….

    Is anyone else, besides myself, cringing at the inevitable season long ESPN narrative machine that will justify Red Sox coverage by way of using the terrible event that occurred at the Boston Marathon?

    ex. They’ll be 10 games out on Aug. 1st, and a puff piece with a sox hospital visit and some noise about the season being a marathon.

    Jay real off 10 in a row and the headline, “There are more important things in life”, etc.

    I don’t mean to be a terrible person, this is more of an indictment of ESPN’s way of doing business.They have no track record that would convince me other wise.

    Be honest.

    • A lot of sports sites are like that, and will do it. No doubt the reports of hockey and basketball will go on to say, “The Celtics are in the playoffs, hoping to win the title because of the bombing.” Same thing with the Bruins.

      We all understand it happened, that it was tragic, and already I’m personally sick of hearing about it. But the media will always put that kind of spin on things to get page hits.

    • I couldn’t agree more.
      99.99% of Boston would have never had an idea of what happened if not on the news.
      And honestly – unless you were at the finish line or a relative / friend of an injured, it really had no effect on you other than the same anger / sorrow one would have hearing of any murder or accident that happens hundreds of times every day.

      It reminds me of when I was robbed at gunpoint where working at a convenience store at 18 years old…. The guy I was working with didn’t even know it happened because he was in the cooler. Once the police got there, he was emotionally scarred and whined like a baby even though it had no effect on him at all.

    • They’re already doing it with the Bruins. “B’s hope to heal Boston”, shit like that. Really leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

    • Real easy to hate on future events you’ve completely made up.

      Dumb, but real easy.

      • Agreed. However, I did make note of that……

        “this is more of an indictment of ESPN’s way of doing business.They have no track record that would convince me other wise.”

      • I’m not 100% sure what I think about Famous’s whole post; I’ll give him the compliment of saying that it made me think.

        However, Stoeten, I will say that I just flipped from TSN whose lead-in clip on Sportscentre was Claude Julien talking about making the city proud. You can suggest that Famous is indulging in pure speculation, but it’s clear that it is speculation based on some likelihood.

  8. and Bautista sits again……

  9. Ear infections are a bitch

  10. Is it possible that it is his wrist and not his back. I recall a comment about Jose cringing on a swing and miss in his last game. Not like the Jays would feed us incorrect information. Reason to worry??

  11. His ear infection is apparently caused by hearing strike calls that he disagrees with.

  12. “ear infection”? Why not just say its his back or wrist. Either way he has missed more games then he has played.

  13. Why are the Blue Jays allergic to OBP?

  14. For some refreshing entertainment, spend $10.00 and go see “42.” For most of the dumbasses on this site it will be money well spent. Instead of arguing over $22 million dollar contracts, borrow the money from your mother and go see it!

  15. Blair told us on his show it was Peavy in February.

    • with the way AA made it seem back in jan, that he had a deal in the works but the player was re signed. it made perfect sense. but never confirmed

  16. baseball jerseys watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_vV_ef45c8

    NFLwholesalesjerseys dot com

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