It really is no secret that the 2017 San Diego Padres need starting pitching.
Luis Perdomo, Christian Friedrich, Jarred Cosart, and Paul Clemens are the top four starting pitchers at the moment, with an outside chance that Tyson Ross will be ready for service. His shoulder surgery rehabilitation is still in its infancy, so its difficult to know exactly when he will be healthy once again. The Padres will just have to be patient with the big right-handed pitcher.
Having a pitcher of Tyson Ross‘ ability at the front of your staff is vital for success. Not only for the innings they provide as your ace, but for the personality and demeanor they bring to the team. You need a pitcher who has been there, someone who has been in the league for a while, someone who has both struggled and found success. The players educate and teach themselves. You need a veteran or two on a staff to help cultivate the youth. And the Padres most certainly have young pitchers.
Tyson Ross might be able to return in time for opening day, but the Padres could bring in an old friend if they are looking for someone to help guide the young staff. Jake Peavy is scheduled for free agency this winter and he could be a huge pickup for the franchise.
The former Friar might be able to be signed at a decent price considering he is coming off a less than productive year in San Francisco. He signed a two-year/$24 million dollar contract with the Giants prior to the 2015 season. He suffered a back injury that year, but performed well in his 19 starts, going 8-6 with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.120 WHIP. The back strain limited him, and the Giants decided to bring in reinforcements in the rotation. They signed Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija prior to the 2016 season, and with that, Peavy became the team’s number five starter. He struggled with neck and back issues and was dropped from the rotation for the first time in his career. That was a lowlight in the pitchers’ career, but he took it like a professional.
Peavy made 10 appearances for the Giants out of the bullpen once the team acquired Matt Moore from the Rays at the trade deadline. In his 15-year career, he had only pitched out of the pen one other time. That was in 2011 when he was a member of the White Sox, and Peavy was called on to get one out in the 12th inning of a game against the Phillies in Philadelphia. He has been solely a starting pitcher in his career and the banishment to the pen might have lit a fire under the right-hander. He recorded a 6.30 ERA in the pen for the Giants in 2016 after the demotion, however he did strike out 12 batters in 10 innings, and his stuff seemed crisper late in the season. He could be a real decent bounce-back candidate for a team in search of pitching help.
So, if you are the San Diego Padres do you entertain the idea of signing Jake Peavy?
Yes, bring back Peavy
The fans would love this. He is a crowd favorite, and the former 2007 N.L. Cy Young Award winner for the Padres would bring droves of fans to the ball park. Right now, Peavy is currently second (92) on the Padres all-time wins list, tied with Randy Jones, only eight behind Eric Show (100) for the record. In a 2017 season that could still be a rebuilding of sorts, having Peavy pitching the entire season and vying for the franchise record could be exciting. He has history pitching well at Petco, and could share his experience with a young Padres staff. Especially those that are in the minor leagues.
Peavy is a huge competitor. He refuses to give in on the mound, and despite not being blessed with a high 90s fastball, he continues to strike batters out. Peavy is well versed in the art of pitching and he also attacks hitters aggressively. Traditionally, he does not walk many batters. If he gets beat, it’s by a team putting the ball in play. Peavy does not beat himself. The right-handed pitcher from Alabama is 41 starts (212) behind Randy Jones (253) on the franchises’ all-time games started list. He is also fourth currently in career ERA, with a 3.29 ERA as a Padres pitcher. Only Trevor Hoffman (2.76), Dave Dravecky (3.12), and Bruce Hurst (3.27) have a lower career ERA. Having him help guide this staff would be fitting for a team that is supposedly trying to embrace their past and develop a sense of tradition.
No, let it go
As much as this would be a great story for the fans of the San Diego Padres, his time has passed and its honestly time to let him go. On the open market, in a really thin pitching market, he could earn a very hefty deal in the neighborhood of $15-20 million for two years. That seems a bit excessive, but he is a former Cy Young Award winner in a very sparse market. The Padres are not prepared to pay top dollar for Peavy, nor should they. He will want to go to a contending team in order to taste the Championship glory once again. Peavy has won two World Series titles (2013-Bos/2014-SF) and he definitely wants to hoist that trophy in victory once again. The Padres aren’t close to that yet. Would he want to take a role as a mentor?
The team needs innings pitched, and the veteran pitcher is a huge risk to break down to some degree in the 2017 season. He has dealt with back and neck injuries recently and there are still concerns about the health of his arm. He has a very violent motion in which he whips his arm across his body while throwing. The tough competitor will give you everything he has out there, but you can be sure he will be hurting out on the mound from time to time during a given season. He is tough though. It takes a lot to make Jake Peavy take some time off.
At this point, this could happen. It really depends on Peavy’s contract demands, though. The Padres need some good PR, and having Peavy on the staff would definitely help in that instance. The question is how much would it take for Peavy? If the team could get him to sign an incentive-laden contract, then they might give him a two-year deal with a no-trade clause. They surely want Peavy and his work ethic around as the young pitchers (Cal Quantrill, Eric Lauer, Logan Allen, Anderson Espinoza, Austin Smith, Jacob Nix, Jean Cosme) get closer to major league service time. His health is a concern, but the Padres have stressed an importance on bringing in great teammates and cultivating a “Padres Way”. Who better to bring in than someone who was drafted by the team and also had a serious chance to be the franchise’s all-time wins leader. Get it done, A.J Preller. Get it done, as long as he doesn’t demand an arm and a leg.