In lots of cities, Major League Baseball’s Wednesday evening trading deadline passed without comment, let alone fireworks.
This was not so in Detroit. By means of a three-way trade that involved the White Sox and Red Sox, the Tigers acquired Jose Iglesias, a young infielder who’d been hitting .330 in Boston. The acquisition was made necessary by what the first-place Tigers feared might be the imminent suspension of their starting shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, for his alleged involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.
Unlike the Tigers, the Red Sox had the opportunity to bring to the trading table the customary frame of mind. They weren’t trying to replace a guy about to go missing. As Boston General Manager Ben Cherington told reporters on Wednesday evening in the dugout at Fenway Park, they were just trying to strengthen a team that looks like a contender.
“We liked our team before we made any moves, but we felt like getting the starting pitching in particular was an area we were trying to bolster,” Cherington said. “And as we know from past experience here, if you don’t have the starting pitching depth late in the year, it can come back to get you, and so we’re happy to add a guy like Peavy.”
In fact, the Red Sox didn’t get a guy like Peavy. They got Jake Peavy, who’d won eight games for the White Sox this season before changing … uh … socks. Boston pitching coach Juan Nieves, who’d previously worked with Peavy in Chicago, feels acquiring the former Cy Young Award winner has answered a pitching coach’s prayer for an excess of viable arms.
“The first thing that comes to my mind is depth,” he said. “We have actually six starters now. It’s almost a great problem to have. It’s always nice to have a little more clothing on your suit, so you can cut it off, then having a little too short.”
“No such thing as too much pitching,” I said.
“Never,” Nieves said. “There’s no such thing as too much depth.”
The pitching coach claims Jake Peavy is one of those guys who has what Nieves calls “a doctor’s degree in pitching,” meaning that he reads hitters well and rarely makes mental mistakes.
Boston’s manager, John Farrell, said he and General Manager Ben Cherington have long known Peavy not only as a fine pitcher, but as the proverbial good guy to have in the clubhouse. In part because they lacked sufficient good guys in their clubhouse, the 2011 Sox crashed late in the season, and in 2012 they finished last. When asked about what sort of homework the Boston front office had done before deciding to go after Peavy, Farrell characterized Major League Baseball as “a tightknit industry,” and said anybody who’s been in the game for very long knows what questions to ask and where to ask them.
Jake Peavy has come from a bad team to a contender, so it’s easy to feel good for him. Meanwhile, Jose Iglesias, late of the Red Sox, is joining another team that appears to be post-season bound. Former teammate Daniel Nava, who’s played each outfield position and first base for the Red Sox this season and starred in a six-run ninth-inning comeback win Thursday night, feels that may make the transition easier for Iglesias.
“Exactly,” he said. “I mean, everyone’s here, you want to win, and at least he’ll be on a team that’s competitive, and who knows? We might see them in the playoffs You never know.”
According to Nava, “You never know” is wisdom absorbed early in his line of work.
“I think you learn that probably your first year in pro ball. You get close to guys, and then the next day they’re gone,” Nava said. “If I had just got signed, and came straight to the big leagues and then that happened, it would have been a little different and harder for me, but I’m used to it by now. I think everyone here is used to it by now.”
The word in the dugout at Fenway Park on Wednesday night was that Jose Iglesias would join the Tigers on Friday. Jake Peavy is expected to pitch for the Red Sox during their current homestand.