After once again trading away almost half of the starting rotation in 2014 as part of the multi-year rebuilding effort, the Chicago Cubs’ starting rotation was once again a very fluid concept.
However, with names such as Jon Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields available via free agency and the team having money to spend, that could change this winter. Another name to throw into the mix? Former Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy, who is set to start Game 6 Tuesday night in Kansas City with a chance to bring home the San Francisco Giants’ third title in five years.
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According to a Chicago Sun-Times report, Peavy, who has been nothing short of dominant since his trade from the Boston Red Sox to San Francisco, would like the opportunity to join whichever team inks Lester this offseason, and, although it remains to be seen if the Cubs are prepared to get into a bidding war for the 31-year-old southpaw, Chicago is at the top of Peavy’s wish list.
"“You never know what free agency brings. I’ve certainly talked to Jon Lester because we’re buddies. So I have a feel for what he does. And I certainly know that Chicago would interest him and interest me.”"
Peavy, 33, spent five seasons on the South Side of Chicago with the White Sox, compiling a 36-29 record with an even 4.00 ERA in 83 starts before heading to Boston in 2013, where he was a member of last year’s World Series champion Red Sox. This year, he’s been San Francisco’s number two starter behind ace Madison Bumgarner after turning his season around on a dime.
Beginning 2014 with the Red Sox, a team whose struggles are well-documented this season, the right-hander compiled a 1-9 record, allowing 131 hits in 124 innings – 20 of which left the ballpark. All of that equated to a 4.72 earned run average and a one-way ticket out of Boston.
However, something changed for Peavy with Bruce Bochy‘s club as he cruised through the second half with a 2.17 ERA across 78 2/3 innings of work spanning a dozen starts in which he allowed just three long-balls.
Peavy has now reached the Fall Classic in each of the past two years, bringing valuable postseason experience to his next club.
To kick off the postseason, the veteran, who won the National League Cy Young Award back in 2007 as a member of the San Diego Padres, pitched into the sixth against the Washington Nationals, allowing just two hits and holding the Nats’ offense scoreless. He did not factor into the decision in his lone National League Championship Series start, allowing a pair of runs in four innings of work and his World Series start in Game 2 was rough as he allowed four runs on six hits in five innings of work, although he was dominant for the better portion of that outing.
Currently, the Cubs’ rotation features the likes of Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Travis Wood, Jacob Turner and Felix Doubront. Exactly where Edwin Jackson, who still has two years left on his four-year, $52 million deal, will fit into the team’s 2015 plans remains to be seen, but any more scuffles as a starter will likely permanently cost him a shot at that role in Chicago, so the team lacks a strong-minded veteran presence that know how to win. That’s where both Lester and Peavy fit in perfectly – and the fit seems to be mutual.
"“It’s hard to have this conversation,” he said. “That being said, obviously Chicago has got a lot of good pieces in place. They’re going to have money to spend. Who doesn’t want to play in the city of Chicago?"
Peavy did clarify some of his comments, saying that the package deal for the two veterans did not specifically apply to Chicago, but rather to any team willing to make that move. Just a handful of seasons removed from injuries that looked like they might end his career, the three-time All-Star appears ready to win for the rest of his career and clearly believes the Cubs are a team that could make that happen.