Friday, May 22, 2009

Should the Brewers Trade For Jake Peavy?

Back in December, I penned this piece on why I thought Jake Peavy and the Milwaukee Brewers were the "perfect fit". At the time, the Padres were looking to move Peavy because John Moores, the Padres owner at the time, was going through a messy divorce and needed to slash payroll. Peavy became the subject of trade rumors all over the baseball world because of his high salary and new contract extension that was set to kick in.

Even though most people focused solely on the Cubs and Braves as suitors for Peavy at the time, I thought the Brewers would have been a great landing spot for Peavy. Here were my reasons why:

1. NL team
2. ace to replace Sabathia and Sheets
3. "affordable" ace
4. quality Brewers prospects

As we all know, the Brewers and Padres never came close to making a trade for Jake Peavy during the offseason, but I absolutely believe that the Brewers should consider making a deal for Peavy in the upcoming months, assuming that GM Kevin Towers is still willing to move him.

The following are my reasons why the Brewers are STILL are great fit for Jake Peavy.

1. NL team
-After rejecting a trade to the White Sox, Towers knows that if he wants to move Peavy, it MUST be to a NL team. The Brewers obviously fit the bill.
(Note: Is Wisconsin "middle of America"?)

2. Ace
-Even without Sabathia and Sheets, the Brewers starting rotation has pitched very well this season. Led by Yovani Gallardo, David Bush, Trevor Hoffman, and Mark DiFelice, the Brewers pitching staff ranks fifth in the NL in ERA at 3.88. But there is no doubt that Peavy would be a substantial upgrade over Jeff Suppan or Manny Parra in the starting rotation and give the Brewers a dominant 1-2 punch with Peavy and Gallardo.

Not too mention that the Brewers bullpen has been very good so far. Unlike last season, the Brewers have a quality closer and a long list of guys, who are pitching very well. A pitcher like Peavy could win lots of games with a quality bullpen pitching behind him.

3. Peavy is no Sabathia (and that's a good thing!)
-Unlike CC Sabathia a year ago, Jake Peavy has a long term contract through 2012, which means that the Brewers would have their ace under contract during the prime of his career (at a very good price!). With Peavy and Gallardo in the fold long term, the Brewers really could be building something special.

4. Prince Fielder Effect
-After 2011, Prince Fielder, the face of the Brewers, will be a free agent and will probably go elsewhere. The window on this team is closing and if they want to win now, adding Peavy will only help their cause.

5. Strength of the NL Central
-There is no doubt that the NL Central is one of the strongest divisions in baseball right now. The Cubs, Cardinals, Brewers, and perhaps even the Reds all have a shot at the playoffs this season. Adding Peavy to the roster would give the Brewers a dramatic push forward as the Brewers try to spring board past these three teams.

6. Brewers have lots to offer
-Between Mat Gamel, Alcides Escobar, Jeremy Jeffress, Brett Lawrie, Angel Solome, and more; the Padres should have no problem identifying prospects, who they like. It remains to be seen if the Brewers would include a young player like Manny Parra or Carlos Villanueva in the deal, but the options are there. (Note: how does the loss of Rickie Weeks affect the Brewers ability to make a big trade?)

Of course, there are several flaws in the argument and questions that need to be answered.

Can the Brewers add Peavy's salary? Will Peavy even accept a trade to Milwaukee? Is Milwaukee "middle America" enough for Peavy? Can Jake Peavy get over his love for San Diego? Will the Brewers be able to part with their top prospects after losing Rickie Weeks for the season? Do the Padres even want to trade Peavy anymore?

Many of the same reasons why I thought the Brewers should go after Peavy in December have remained almost identical to now. But the major difference is that the Brewers have played very good ball so far this season and have proved to the rest of the league that they are for real. The goal is no longer to replace Sabathia and Sheets, but instead, to make a major push towards the playoffs in 2009.

When it comes down to it, the opportunity to add a top flight starting pitcher rarely presents itself nowadays. The Brewers need to at least explore the market for Peavy and see if there is any chance of making this a reality.


lar said...

There's a lot to like about the prospect of Jake Peavy pitching in Milwaukee (the least of which being that he won't be pitching in Chicago). And there's a lot of reasons why the Brewers would be able to make the deal (and why they should make the deal), including the depth of their farm system, the fact that they're "so close", and the impending departure of Prince Fielder. I can only imagine that Peavy's contract is hanging over everything, though.

Yes, it's a good deal for someone of Peavy's level, but it's still $64 mil over the next three years. The $8 mil this year would probably be doable, though it would strain their pursestrings a little. The $15 mil next year (and then $16 mil and $17 mil) could be really difficult to manage, though. Yes, they are one of the few franchises with increasing attendance/income, and yes, a successful postseason would certainly help all of that. Still, it's a pretty big commitment for a small market team, and I can easily see Attanasio and Melvin worrying about it.

As a Brewer fan, I'm not sure where I sit. The pros and cons are both compelling, and I'd uderstand either way. I guess if I had to make a choice, I'd lean a little away from the deal, just because I suspect that we could find a suitable 80%-Peavy pitcher for a better price. In the end, though, I think Melvin has made enough good moves to earn the benefit of the doubt. If he makes the trade, then he and Attanasio must feel that the net gain is positive for the club. and, if he doesn't make the trade, they must see it as doing more harm than good for the franchise down the road. I'm okay with them making that choice...

tHeMARksMiTh said...

Very good points.

Anonymous said...

Prince is an FA after 2011, not 2010.

HHHTheGame said...

Let's not forget, we're still on the hook for Suppan's $12MM in 2010 as well. $27MM for two pitchers next year for a small market team would be a lot. Also keep in mind that for Hardy, Weeks, Gallardo and/or Hart (pick a couple of them), it's going to be long-term contract time.

Unknown said...

If the Brewers are serious about winning, they will go after Peavy. The Padres could also throw in David Eckstein to cover the loss at 2B.
You can trade Hardy, Hart, Weeks, but how many true aces are out there on the market?
You get what you pay for, and it should not be inexpensive to land a Cy Young player (and person) in the prime of his career.
I bet Peavy would love to get reuinited with Hoffy.
Escobar and Gamel must be a part of the package + pitching I would guess...

AvengingJM said...

If the Brewers' FO just makes an offer our clown FO will accept it because they're thinking about the money more than the prospects.

You could probably get Jake for a future #3 a bust of Cecil Cooper and a case of Miller....Jake would just have to accept and with Trevor there he probably would.

Anonymous said...

Prince is a FA after 2010, not 2011! He only signed a two year deal. 2009 and 2010!

Anonymous said...

You seem to have forgotten that Prince was eligble for arby for the first time this past offseason. That means that two years of arby bought out and then a third year.

WebSoulSurfer said...

Fielder is a free agent after the 2011 season.

Peavy would be a great fit in Milwaukee and I believe Milwaukee is the type of city that would be a good one to raise your kids, which is important to him.

I also think that with all the contracts that end with the 2009 season in Milwaukee and the group of young players ready to fill those positions, the team could easily afford him and fill the holes.

The only question is can they put a package together that the Padres would like and I think the answer is yes.

A package that included Escobar, Jeffress, LuCroy or Salome and one or two pitching prospects like Romanski or Peralta should get the deal done. The Brewers might have to throw in a Villanueva or Parra instead of Romanski or Peralta, but that is still very doable.

I say call the GM's and get the deal done. Peavy couldn't turn this one down so if the GM's float it, it will get done.

Rob said...

There is no way Milwaukee will deal Gamel or Escobar. Gamel will replace Prince at first (because he can't play third) after this season and Escobar will start at SS next year with JJ moving to third or being dealt. And don't forget, the team is in first right now without Peavy. They may not need to add him and his massive contract to make the playoffs this year. A more plausible move, if they want a starter, would be getting someone like Bedard (less money and potential compensation picks when he leaves) for a package of Salome and someone like Gillespie or Green. But Gamel and Escobar aren't going anywhere, unless the Padres eat a chunk of Peavy's salary, which defeats the purpose of trading him.

Anonymous said...

Prince Fielder is not the face of the franchise...Ryan Braun is. Plus I would put Escobar as the main part of the deal because yes, Escobar has great defense, but Hardy is a good defensive SS plus he has a good Stick. Escobar and some lower level pro propects for Peavy...Make the Deal happen Doug Melvin!

Anonymous said...

I would agree that Braun is the franchise player in MKE, but Prince is not too shabby and probably - at this point - is a more complete hitter than Ryan.

As for dealing Gamel + Escobar? That's crazy talk. CC - a pitcher on the same level as Peavy (stuff-wise) - got LaPorta. That's - count 'em - 1 top prospect.

I'd be perfectly fine dealing Escobar/Hardy, Peralta, PTBNL for Peavy so long as the crew can afford it. DO NOT TRADE GAMEL though.