, Gloucester, MA

August 1, 2013

Peavy a perfect fit for blue-collar Red Sox

On Baseball
Christopher Smith

---- — BOSTON — Jake Peavy is no Babe Ruth but he will pitch his home games in the same place his idol once did.

No, not Yankee Stadium. Peavy will be starting right here at Fenway Park ... and the blue-collar hurler is a perfect fit for the blue-collar Boston Red Sox.

Peavy, a right-handed starter, was traded to Boston late Tuesday night from the Chicago White Sox in a three-team deal that sent defensive wiz Jose Iglesias to the Detroit Tigers.

“Babe Ruth is my favorite player, and I think the greatest player to ever play the game,” Peavy told The Eagle-Tribune in June 2011. “Not only was he the best hitter of all time. ... he was one of the best pitchers.

“I’d like to sit down and have a beer with him and talk baseball,” Peavy added. “I’d assume he’d have a beer with me.”

As you might imagine from that above quote, Peavy certainly is a character. He’s full of personality. He enjoys pitching and enjoys baseball history. And he should be a perfect fit in a Red Sox clubhouse that is full of interesting and blue-collar type of characters.

Peavy enjoyed pitching in Chicago because he said he and the city were very much alike.

“I love the blue collar fans that we have — the blue collar style that the White Sox embrace,” he also said in 2011 in his interview with The Eagle-Tribune. “It really fits my personality well. I feel like a blue-collar type person and player. So I enjoy playing for fans and a team that embraces that.”

Like Chicago, Boston obviously is a blue-collar city and Peavy and Red Sox fans likely will become a perfect match for that reason.

Peavy has enjoyed going around the city of Boston in his past trips here with the White Sox. He has visited Daisy Buchanan’s on Newbury Street where he has had drinks with teammates.

He also is a fit here in Boston because the Red Sox are in need of another experienced starting pitcher and Peavy — by all accounts — is a real competitor. That said, he only has made two playoff starts in his career — two losses — so he should be motivated to help Boston go deep in the playoffs.

The 32-year-old right-hander, who won the 2007 NL Cy Young while with San Diego, certainly should help Boston down the stretch as Clay Buchholz likely won’t be ready to start a game until September if he pitches at all for the Red Sox for the remainder of the season.

Peavy had a heck of a year in 2007.

He led the league in wins (19), ERA (2.54), strikeouts (240) and strikeouts per nine innings pitched (9.7).

Injuries limited him to 16 starts in 2009 and 17 starts in 2010. He had surgery in 2010 to repair a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in his right shoulder.

He was an All-Star last year when he posted 3.37 ERA in 32 starts (219.0 innings) for the White Sox.

Peavy has missed some time this year with a rib injury. But he has pitched pretty well when he has been in there. He is 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA in 1.14 WHIP in 13 starts (80.0 innings). He is averaging just 1.9 walks per nine innings compared to 8.6 strikeouts.

Many thought the debate on whether to add another starter simply came down to whether a Peavy or Houston’s Bud Norris would be an upgrade over fifth starter Brandon Workman until Buchholz returns.

But as noted in yesterday’s Tribune, it’s much more than that. The Red Sox lack some starting pitching depth right now because minor leaguers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster have struggled lately. De La Rosa allowed six earned runs on three homers in 4.2 innings for the PawSox on Monday.

So adding Peavy adds to the starting pitching depth And it allows the Red Sox to move Workman — who earned his first major league win here yesterday in a strong 6.0 inning start – to relief to help solidify the concerning bullpen. The move also adds some insurance in case Felix Doubront or someone else in the Red Sox rotation stumbles down the stretch.

Peavy will be under the Red Sox control through 2014. He will earn $14.5 million in ‘14. He has a player option in ‘15.

The Red Sox obviously lose a potential Gold Glove defender in Iglesias.

“He seems pretty aggressive, which I like,” Seattle shortstop and defensive wiz Brendan Ryan said about Iglesias.

“Obviously, he’s got good hands. I’ve seen him play a little bit more third and I’ve seen him play (more) on TV. It’s always a little bit easier to watch in person. But he made some nice plays at our place (Safeco Field). He’s got good feet and he’s confident and aggressive.”

Ryan also mentioned Iglesias’ quick releases on throws.

“He probably really doesn’t close the glove unless it’s to a backhand or something like that,” Ryan said. “The ball is in-and-out of the glove like you want it.”

With Iglesias gone, Will Middlebrooks and Xander Bogaerts are internal options to start at third base. Also, the Red Sox likely will look more into the possibility of acquiring Philadelphia third baseman Michael Young before today’s non-waiver trade deadline.