Jake Peavy is just starting to throw again as he comes back from a fractured rib, so it’s a moot point for now, but the White Sox right-hander made it very clear yesterday that he doesn’t want to be traded.
Chicago is in last place at 32-43, so the White Sox shopping various veterans would make sense if things don’t turn around in a hurry, but here’s what Peavy told Doug Padilla of ESPN Chicago:
I’ll just tell you that I don’t want that to happen, that I want to pitch here in Chicago and I want games I pitch in to be meaningful and for us to get back in the thick of things. Do I think that can happen? Absolutely. But we have to shore things up, take it day by day and win. I do understand the possibility of being moved if I am healthy or I’m not healthy. And that’s something that I leave up to the hands of Rick Hahn and his staff and I will do all I’m asked really.
If he can show that he’s healthy by the July 31 deadline Peavy would look awfully nice in a lot of contending rotations, but his being signed for next season at $14.5 million also complicates things. Peavy got off to a fantastic start, throwing 61 innings with a 2.97 ERA and 63/15 K/BB ratio through late May, but then he turned in back-to-back rough outings and suffered the rib injury. He’s due back shortly after the All-Star break.
In 2016, Red Sox starter Rick Porcello narrowly and controversially eked ahead of then-Tigers starter Justin Verlander in Cy Young Award balloting, winning on points 137 to 132. Verlander was not included at all in the top-five of two ballots, both coincidentally belonging to writers from the Tampa Bay chapter, MLB.com’s Bill Chastain and Fred Goodall of the Associated Press. Verlander had more first-place votes than Porcello, but being left out of the top-five on two ballots was the difference maker.
In the aftermath, Verlander’s then-fiancée Kate Upton fired off some angry tweets, as did Justin’s brother Ben.
Verlander was again in the running for the 2018 AL Cy Young Award. He again finished in second place, this time behind Blake Snell of the Rays. Snell had 17 first-place votes and 169 total points to Verlander’s 13 and 154. There weren’t any ballots that made a big difference like in 2016, but there were two odd ballots from the Tampa Bay chapter again.
If a chapter doesn’t have enough eligible voters, a voter from another chapter is chosen to represent that city. This year, Bill Madden of the New York Daily News was a replacement voter along with Mark Didtler, a freelancer for the Associated Press. Both writers voted for Snell in first place, reasonably. But neither writer put Verlander second, less reasonably, putting Corey Kluber there instead. Madden actually had Verlander fourth behind Athletics reliever Blake Treinen. Didtler had Treinen in fifth place. Two other writers had Verlander in third place: George A. King III of the New York Post and Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. The other 26 had Verlander in first or second place.
Voting Kluber ahead of Verlander doesn’t make any sense, especially we finally live in a world where a pitcher’s win-loss record isn’t valued highly. Kluber had 20 wins to Verlander’s 16 and pitched one more inning. In every other area, Verlander was better. ERA? Verlander led 2.52 to 2.89. Strikeouts? Verlander led 290 to 222. Strikeout rate? Verlander led 34.8% to 26.4%. Opponent batting average? Verlander led .198 to .222. FIP and xFIP? Verlander led both 2.78 and 3.03 to 3.12 and 3.08, respectively. And while Treinen had an excellent year, Verlander pitched 134 more innings, which is significant.
Upton had another tweet for the occasion: