White Sox sign Jake Peavy to $29 million contract, decline Kevin Youkilis’ option

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The White Sox’s 2013 rotation is set to look a whole lot like the 2012 group after all. The team today re-signed Jake Peavy to a tw0-year, $29 million deal and picked up Gavin Floyd’s $9.5 million option for 2013.

The team also announced that it had declined Kevin Youkilis’ $13 million option and Brett Myers’ $10 million option for next year.

Peavy will make $14.5 million each of the next two seasons, which amounts to a paycut from the three-year, $52 million contract he was on. That deal included a $22 million option for 2013 with a $4 million buyout. Peavy will receive the $4 million buyout in addition to his new contract. His deal also includes a $15 million player option for 2015 that he’ll be able to pick up if he reaches certain marks the next two years.

Peavy went 11-12 and finished ninth in the AL with a 3.37 ERA last season. It was the first time he had made even 20 starts since 2008, so the White Sox are taking quite a chance in re-signing him. Still, many figured he’d get a three-year deal this winter on the open market.

Floyd’s return isn’t something a lot of people would have anticipated a few months ago, but he did have a strong finish on his way to going 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA in 29 starts for the season. It’s possible the team could still trade him this winter. If he sticks, then the White Sox would seem to be set with a rotation of Chris Sale, Peavy, John Danks, Floyd and Jose Quintana.

The White Sox figure to have some interest in re-signing Youkilis, who hit .236/.346/.425 with 15 homers and 46 RBI in 80 games after coming over from the Red Sox. However, since he is the top third baseman available in free agency, there will be plenty of demand for his services. A two-year deal seems likely.

Myers had a 3.12 ERA in 34 2/3 innings as a setup man following a trade from the Astros. He’ll probably go search for a closer gig elsewhere.

Young Blue Jays say they aren’t intimidated by top seed Rays

Blue Jays roster and schedule
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) When the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays opened the pandemic-delayed season a little over two months ago, there was little to indicate the AL East rivals might meet again to begin the playoffs.

While the Rays launched the truncated 60-game schedule with expectations of making a strong bid for their first division title in a decade, the Blue Jays generally were viewed as an immensely talented young team still years away from postseason contention.

Tampa Bay didn’t disappoint, shrugging off a slow start to go a league-best 40-20 and claim the No. 1 seed in the AL playoffs that begin Tuesday.

Lefty Blake Snell, who’ll start Game 1 of the best-of-three wild-card series against Toronto at Tropicana Field, also isn’t surprised that the eighth-seeded Blue Jays earned a spot, too.

The Rays won six of 10 games between the teams during the regular season, but were outscored 48-44 and outhomered 17-11.

And while Toronto (32-28) lacks the playoff experience Tampa Bay gained last season when the Rays beat Oakland in the AL wild-card game before falling to Houston in the divisional round, the Blue Jays are building with exciting young players such as Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

“They’ve got a lot of young guys who can ball over there,” Snell said. “It’s going to be fun to compete and see how we do.”

Rays defensive whiz Kevin Kiermaier said Tampa Bay, in the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the second time franchise history, will not take the Blue Jays lightly.

“We know we’re playing a real good team,” Kiermaier said. “It’s not going to be easy, regardless of what a team is seeded.”

The Blue Jays, who’ll start right-hander Matt Shoemaker, aren’t conceding anything.

Bichette said he and his teammates respect how good Tampa Bay is, but are not intimidated by facing the No. 1 seed.

“I would say that we didn’t care who we played. I would say that we didn’t mind playing Tampa, that’s for sure. We’re familiar with them. We’ve played them well,” Bichette said.

“I think we’re confident in our ability against them. Our talent matches up well,” Bichette added. “We think if we play well we’ve got a good chance.”

NO FANS

The stands at Tropicana Field will be empty, leaving players to wonder what the atmosphere will be like for the playoffs.

Tampa Bay routinely rank at or near the bottom of the majors in attendance, but usually pack the stands in the domed stadium during the postseason.

“It will be different,” Bichette said. “Normally when you think of your first postseason you think 40,000, you think about not being able to think it’s so loud, stuff like that.”

The Blue Jays open the playoffs near where they hold spring training in Dunedin, Florida. It’s been a winding road for Toronto, which played its home games in Buffalo, New York, at the site of its Triple-A affiliate after the Canadian government barred the Blue Jays from hosting games at their own stadium because of coronavirus concerns.

CONFIDENT RAYS

Tampa Bay’s five-game loss to Houston in last year’s divisional round was a source of motivation during the regular season.

“It definitely lit a fire under everybody. It really showed us we belong. … We gave them a tough series,” second baseman Brandon Lowe said.

“We won the wild-card game. We belong in the postseason. I think that did a lot for us to understand that we should be in the postseason and we can go a lot farther. We know what to expect this time around. I think everyone in our clubhouse expects to be playing until the end of October,” he said.

CLOSE FRIENDS

Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash has the Rays in the playoffs for the second time. His close friend and former Rays third base and bench coach Charlie Montoyo is in his second year as manager of the Blue Jays, who last made the playoffs in 2016.

“Pretty special,” Cash said of his relationship with Montoyo.

“I really learned a lot from him being around him. The way he carried himself. His hand print is throughout this organization,” Cash added. “A pretty big impact and a positive one. … When they clinched I talked to him, we face-timed at 1:30 in the morning. I’m so happy for him.”