The San Francisco Giants have acquired right-handed starter Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for minor league left-hander Edwin Escobar and minor league right-hander Heath Hembree, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports first reported late Saturday morning. San Francisco is also expected to receive cash along with Peavy in the deal, as Boston will be paying just over half of the remaining $5 million that Peavy is owed for the remainder of the 2014 season.
The Giants' interest in Peavy was first reported by Robert Murray of SportsRumorAlert.com on July 21st. The Red Sox had reportedly been in deep talks with the St. Louis Cardinals over Peavy, as the Cardinals have been looking for starting pitching, but they could not get a deal done. Jen Royle of the Boston Hearld heard this morning that Peavy was close to being traded to a National League team, however it was not the Cardinals. The Giants swooped in and grabbed the pitcher, but not cheaply.
The Red Sox will be receiving two pretty good prospects for Peavy's value. Escobar, at age 22, is already at the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Fresno. However, he has been struggling on the year. Previous to this season, MLB.com ranked Escobar as the Giants' second-best prospect on their top 20. But it was not just Escobar that was included in the deal. The Red Sox also acquired the Giants' 11th-best prospect as well in Heath Hembree, who is currently pitching in Triple-A as well.
On the season, Escobar is 3-8 with a 5.11 ERA and a 4.98 FIP. The Venezuelan native does not have a fancy repertoire, pitching only three pitches, all of which could become above-average offerings at best. His fastball velocity is average; sitting in the 88-92 mph range. His second-best pitch is his curveball, but he also has a change-up that has had its good moments. He is projected to be a number two or three starter, but be a big innings-eater.
As for Hembree, he is 1-3 with a 3.89 ERA and a 4.14 FIP in 39.1 innings pitched on the season. The relief pitcher has appeared in the major leagues for a brief stint with the Giants in 2013, striking out 12 hitters in only 7.2 innings of work. He brings the heat more than Escobar, throwing his fastball into the mid 90s, sitting at around 94-95 mph. He also brings to the table a slider, possibly making himself a back-end of the bullpen candidate into the future, either as a closer or a set-up man. His control does need to improve, however, but with some polishing, he could be fantastic setting up for Koji Uehara in Boston.
But the main piece in this deal was Peavy, whom the Giants have acquired to help them make a run into the postseason and beyond. Peavy has not looked happy in Boston this season, going 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA and a 4.81 FIP in 124 innings pitched thus far. Peavy was in this situation last season, as the Chicago White Sox dealt the 33-year-old to Boston to pitch for a contender, where Peavy was pretty good.
Peavy also has postseason experience, something that many teams value highly. While he does have experience, his starts on the big stage have not been particularly exceptional. In five starts in the playoffs, which includes his start in game three of the 2013 World Series, Peavy is 0-3 with a ugly 9.27 ERA. That cannot possibly be a good sign for what is to come.
However, Peavy brings to the table something that the Giants really need. He is able to pitch very well against the National League West division, where he spent eight years with the San Diego Padres. Peavy is historically good against the Los Angeles Dodgers in particular, who currently sit just behind the Giants in second place. In 25 starts versus Los Angeles, Peavy is 14-2 with a 2.21 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP.
The former Cy Young award winner may only reside in San Francisco for the rest of this year. He does have a 2015 vesting option, but it is highly unlikely that it will vest. But if the Giants can win a World Series this year, no matter how long Peavy remains with San Francisco, it will not matter. They will have succeeded their goal, so therefore the trade will be a winner.