In what could be the biggest deal of the 2013 trading season, the Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and Detroit Tigers pulled off a seven-player deal late Tuesday night.
With his team aging and clearly in need of a rebuild, White Sox GM Rick Hahn orchestrated the deal by sending All Star right-hander Jake Peavy to Boston. Chicago in turn received Detroit outfield outfielder Avisail Garcia and three prospects from the Red Sox system: Francelis Montas, J.B. Wendelken, and Cleuluis Rondon.
Along with Peavy, Boston receives hard-throwing reliever Brayan Villarreal from the Tigers. And Detroit picks up shortstop – and potentially this season’s Rookie of the Year – Jose Iglesias.
With the resurgent Rays nipping at their heels and several key members of the pitching staff on the DL (including a rejuvenated Clay Buchholz), Boston went out and acquired the best available starter on the market. And while Peavy is no longer the same pitcher he was in his early days with San Diego, the 32-year-old is in the midst of one of the better seasons of his career.
In 13 starts, Peavy’s averaged nearly a punch per inning (8.55 K/9) while posting a career best 1.91 BB/9. His overall ERA, 4.28, is nearly a full run higher than his Skill Independent ERA, or SIERA, at 3.47. And his addition gives Boston one of the deepest rotations in baseball.
Villarreal is a complete wild card on the mound, missing a ton of bats (10.32 K/9) thanks to a plus-plus fastball, but literally has no inkling of where to throw it (5.52 BB/9 in his career).
As for Detroit, their need for an everyday shortstop became apparent with the potential suspension of Jhonny Peralta, who was linked to the whole Biogenesis mess.
Iglesias, known more for his glove, is batting an impressive .330/.376/.409 on the season, though the overwhelming majority of that offensive production is mostly a mirage. Never a strong hitter in the minors, the Cuban-born shortstop is on the fortunate end of an incredibly high – and completely unsustainable –BABIP (.376). Otherwise, his secondary skills (poor walk rate, little speed, and no power) are lacking.
Still, though, Iglesias will add value with the glove and provides a long term answer at the position. And one of the more overlooked aspects will be his added value to Detroit’s pitching staff.
As for the White Sox, only one of the newly acquired prospects, Avisail Garcia, ranked among their former organizations Top 16.
Prior to the year I ranked Garcia as Detroit’s fourth best prospect, writing at that time: “Outside of horrendously low walk rates, the amount of groundballs Garcia hits is staggeringly high (56.5% overall in 2012), especially considering his decent power output. But what’s really concerning is the amount he hit while in Double-A, a ridiculous 65%. The tools are there to become a reasonably valuable big league regular. But between the walk and groundball rates, I’m not convinced he can overcome both.”
This season, the 22-year-old outfielder hit .382/.414/.549 in 32 games in Triple-A, though, again, a lot of that is smoke and mirrors thanks to a BABIP that’s nearly .500. And Garcia, who’s had two cups of coffee with the Tigers, is still barely walking and hitting a ton of groundballs.
The other three prospects acquired: Wendelken is a 20-year-old reliever in A-ball with middling skills (7.59 K/9 and 2.81 BB/9); Rondon, 19, is a league average bat in Low-A, hitting .269/.320/.345; and Montas, the best of the trio, is a 20-year-old A-ball starter with very promising peripherals: 10.13 K/9 and 3.38 BB/9.
This should be an easy win for Boston, who acquired a solid #2/#3-type starting pitcher and a wild card reliever while selling high on Iglesias and parting with three low level prospects. Detroit basically flipped a flawed outfield prospect and reliever for a flawed big leaguer. And Chicago, well, unless Montas avoids injury and develops into a big leaguer, didn’t get too much for a good pitcher signed through the end of next season on a reasonable deal.
Photo of Jake Peavy Courtesy of CBSSports.com