There is no set formula for winning the World Series. World Series winning teams don’t require a super-rotation or an unstoppable lineup or any one trait in particular. Most World Series winners do share two unique traits: they won a bunch of games in October and they could generally be described as “good.”
Good teams tend to win the World Series because it takes a good team to survive the regular season gauntlet. By adding Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal, the Sox made their team better – better suited to make it through the regular season unscathed and better suited to win the whole damn thing.
The three-way deal is structured as follows: the Red Sox get Jake Peavy and Brayan Villarreal, the White Sox receive Avasail Garcia and a clutch of prospects headlined by Francellis Montas, and the Tigers get shortstop Jose Iglesias.
There are no guarantees in life but making your team better seems like wise policy for any general manager. By dealing from a position of organizational depth (the Sox still have stud SS Xander Bogaerts at AAA and Garin Cecchini at AA), Red Sox GM Ben Cherington was able to upgrade his rotation (required after an injury to Clay Buchholz depleted the big league staff) and grab and extra arm for his troubles without dealing one of his club’s top prospects.
A rotation which once counted on Felix Doubrant and Brandon Workman heavily in Buchholz’s absence now needs only to choose between one of them until Buccholz’s return. Peavy might not be Cliff Lee but he came at a far lower price – both now and in the future. Peavy has one year remaining on his contract after this season (at $14.5MM) as well as a player option for the 2015 season ($15MM, which activates if he pitches 190 innings in 2014 or totals 400IP between 2013/14). This is no rental.
What Jake Peavy is, if not a rental, is a very good pitcher. The former NL Cy Young winner proved he wasn’t just a creation of San Diego’s Marine Layer as his numbers suggest. At 32-years old, his stuff is still good as both his strikeout rate and walk rate as better now than any point since he came to the AL.
There is still risk, Peavy was terrific and healthy last season but that is the exception to the rule. The 32 starts he made in 2012 marks the first time since 2007 that he toed the rubber with such frequency. Already this season Peavy missed a few outings with back pain and hit the DL with a fractured rib. Like many pitchers, when he’s healthy he’s good – but how long can you keep him healthy.
The price the Red Sox paid is not insignificant: Jose Iglesias is a very good (and probably excellent) defensive shortstop, one who can expect Rick Porcello and Doug Fister to stuff his locker full of Rolexes and “buy three, get the fourth free” coupons for the local harem upon his arrival in Detroit. The Red Sox paid a lot of money to sign Iglesias out of Cuba, but between Stephen Drew, Will Middlebrooks, Brock Holt, and most notably Xander Bogaerts ready to take up the charge, the left side of Boston’s infield will not go wanting.
Whether the Tigers just acquired the defensive wizard who barely hit his weight in the minor leagues or the revamped hitter who rode a great deal of good fortune to a bewildering .330/.377/.410 line this season is question worth asking. Many quoted scouts suggest the changes Iglesias made at the plate are real, even if the above slash line is not. If ever a team could afford to sacrifice offense for defense on its infield, it is the current edition of the Detroit Tigers.
The White Sox rebuild continues while the Tigers shore up their defense and acquire insurance in case Jhonny Peralta is “suddenly unavailable” for the next 50 games. The Red Sox get a good pitcher at a very reasonable price. Everybody wins, right? The Texas Rangers might beg to differ, as they paid a lot of a rental pitcher who might be a little better…
Acquiring Jake Peavy doesn’t guarantee the Red Sox anything. It does arm them for the long fight to avoid the play-in game. Considering the way the Rays have abused them (and everybody else) over the last two months, the Red Sox saw first hand the benefit of great starting pitching. Damn these smart GMs, making the trade deadline so boring and effective!
And the rest
The Texas Rangers did it again last night, coming back from four runs down to walkoff the disgraceful Angels once more. [MLB.com]
You know what the Rangers did not do last night? Get Mike Trout out even once. Just like the night before. The Angels only saving grace has reached base in ten consecutive plate appearances. He’s really good!
Mike Trout walks, making him 4-for-4 with two walks. He's reached base in 10 straight plate appearances. #Angels
— Alden Gonzalez (@Alden_Gonzalez) July 31, 2013
Chad Qualls, less good.
Cool stuff from Nick Piecoro, talking with the Diamondbacks area scouts on the players they drafted. [Arizona Republic]
We’ve been a little bit harsh on the Houston Astros around here but Jonathan Villar looks like a player.
One Pirates fan is wary of “Flags Fly Forever” thinking. [WHYGAVS?]
The way the Pirates operate, he doesn’t need to worry about it. [Grantland]