This seemed like a timely card to feature. Jake Peavy’s 2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres card that I got autographed through the mail.
Since returning from my last underway almost a week ago, it has taken me a few days to digest the whole Jake Peavy trade. Normally, we have email and limited internet availability at sea. However due to certain mission-based restrictions, we were essentially isolated. Two weeks with no access to the outside world seemed like an eternity. So it was quite a shock for me to discover that Jake Peavy, the greatest starting pitcher in Padres history, is now a member of the Chicago White Sox.
Shock, anger, resignation. An apt description of my feelings. As a lifelong Padres fan, you’re supposed to be used to this. Sure you might be able to enjoy Tony Gwynn or Trevor Hoffman for many seasons. For the most part, you know that the Padres wind up trading away vast amounts of talent – Dave Winfield, Ozzie Smith, the Alomar brothers, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, et al. But how could the organization trade away probably it’s best home grown pitcher, ever!! Cy Young winners don’t just grow on trees. Elite aces are few and far between. Besides, during this transition period and sagging attendance, wouldn’t it be wise to at least give the fans someone recognizable they could cheer for?
As a Padres fan, I loved Jake Peavy. Loved his fiery attitude, his competitive juices, and of course his ability to pitch. Last Labor Day weekend, I made the trip to San Diego and I got to see him pitch against the Rockies. Just an absolute joy to watch. On a team that showed almost no emotion last season, it was fun to see him go out every 5th day and actually pour his heart out on the field.
As the days have gone by, the trade has actually grown on me. I read some analysis on the trade that I tend to agree with. Look, I’m a Padres fan but I’m also a realist. This team will never be on par with the Yankees, RedSox, or Cubs when it comes to player salaries. That’s the reality of modern day baseball economics. This is a team that has to spend it’s limited resources carefully. Peavy was scheduled to make $15 million in 2010. Even if the payroll got bumped up to $60 million next season, that would commit 25% of the team’s payroll to a guy who plays every 5th day. Given the choice, would I rather have Peavy or Adrian Gonzalez locked up long-term? I’d rather have Adrian. Hands down. Cy Young pitchers don’t grow on trees, but decent pitchers who can put up solid numbers in Petco Park are always available (hello Kevin Correia). However, a young slugger who can hit in the offensive hellhole that is Petco park? Lock him up immediately.
Also, for a guy who’s still on the DL, this was a decent haul. If you believe the rumors, this was essentially the same package the White Sox offered for Peavy earlier this season. Clayton Richard is already with the big club and figures to challenge next year for a rotation spot. Aaron Poreda is considered the jewel of the package. I expect to see the lefty later this year when they shut down Mat Latos to protect his arm. But the one who has me most intrigued is Dexter Carter. The guys just a strikeout machine right now. Hopefully that trend will continue as he progresses up the ladder.
Having said all that, despite the seeing how sensible the trade was, it still sucks. Makes me wish for an NFL style salary cap. Seriously, if the NFL had the same economic system as MLB, do you really think Peyton Manning would have been able to play his entire career with the Indianapolis Colts?