Dave Van Dyck of the Chicago Tribune asked Jake Peavy if he’s 100 percent healthy heading into spring training and the 30-year-old right-hander gave an answer that can’t be very encouraging to White Sox fans:
I’m as 100 percent as I can be. I don’t know if I’m 100 percent as to what I was four years ago. I know I’m as 100 percent as 100 percent is going to get after what I had done. I guess that’s the best way to say it.
What he “had done” was shoulder surgery in 2010.
Peavy was more effective last season than his ugly 4.92 ERA would suggest, posting a 95/24 K/BB ratio in 112 innings, but his average fastball clocked in at a career-low 90.7 miles per hour and since being traded to the White Sox in mid-2009 he’s started 38 games with a 4.49 ERA. Some of that is due to leaving the National League and pitcher-friendly Petco Park for the American League and hitter-friendly U.S. Cellular Field, but based on his stuff and results Peavy is definitely correct that he hasn’t been the same since exiting San Diego.
And unfortunately for the White Sox he’s owed $17 million this season and will have to be bought out for $4 million–instead of a $22 million option–next year.
On Sunday, we heard from former Ray and current Giants third baseman Evan Longoria. The Rays recently traded pitcher Jake Odorizzi to the Twins for a prospect and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, which didn’t make a whole lot of sense outside of a cost-cutting perspective. Longoria said, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”
Today, we’re hearing from a current Ray: center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, who is set to enter his fifth full season with the club. Via Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, Kiermaier said, “I am 100 percent frustrated and very upset with the moves. No beating around the bush. It’s one of those things that makes you scratch your head, you don’t know the reasoning why. And then you see the team’s explanation and still it’s just like, okay, well, so be it.”
Longoria — formerly the face of the franchise — was traded to the Giants in December and the Rays continued to subtract with their recent moves involving Odorizzi and Dickerson. Odorizzi has a career 3.83 ERA in what has been a solid, if unspectacular, career. Dickerson put up an All-Star season, posting an .815 OPS with 27 home runs in 150 games. Moving either player was not done to fix a positional log jam. In fact, with Odorizzi out of the picture, the Rays are planning to use a four-man starting rotation for the first six-plus weeks of the season, Topkin reported on Sunday. Dickerson’s ouster simply opens the door for Mallex Smith, who posted a .684 OPS last year, to start every day in the outfield.
The Rays got markedly worse after going 80-82 last season. They saved a few million bucks jettisoning Odorizzi and Dickerson. And Rays ownership still wants the public to foot most of the bill for their new stadium.
When it was just one small market team pinching pennies, it was fine. But now that more than half of the league has adopted penny-pinching principles popularized by Moneyball and Sabermetrics (with the Rays among the chief offenders), the game of baseball has become markedly less fan- and player-friendly. This offseason has been less about players signing contracts and changing teams in trades — which helps build excitement and intrigue for the coming year — and more about front offices doing math problems concerning the $197 million competitive balance tax threshold and other self-imposed monetary restraints. Fun. Kiermaier is right to be upset and he’s very likely not alone in feeling that way.