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.