It wasn't until they engaged the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, Boston general manager Ben Cherington said, that the pieces finally fell into place. The end result was a three-team, seven-player deal in which Boston received the 32-year-old veteran starter they were seeking to bolster their rotation for a postseason run.
The Tigers, meanwhile, acquired gifted gloveman Jose Iglesias from Boston as the shortstop they will need if All-Star Jhonny Peralta is suspended, as anticipated, as part of MLB's Biogenesis investigation. The White Sox acquired outfielder Avisail Garcia, regarded as the top power prospect in the Detroit system, plus three prospects from the Red Sox: 100-mph throwing right-hander from Class A Greenville, 20-year-old Dominican Francelis Montas, righty J.B. Wendelken and infielder Cleuluis Rondon.
Boston also acquired another player from Detroit's 40-man roster, right-handed reliever Brayan Villarreal, who is currently with Triple-A Toledo and has been sidelined with a sprained thumb. Villareal will be assigned to Boston's Triple-A team, Pawtucket.
Peavy, who was scratched from his scheduled start for the White Sox on Tuesday, is expected to arrive in Boston on Wednesday, Cherington said, but will not start Wednesday night's game against the Seattle Mariners.
The deal would appear to strengthen two teams who expect to be playing in October: the Red Sox, who are a half-game behind the surging Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East, and the Tigers, the defending AL champions who are 2½ games ahead of the Cleveland Indians in the AL Central. The White Sox, last in the AL Central, continue the process of rebuilding; they already made one deal with Boston earlier this month, acquiring outfield prospect Brandon Jacobs for left-handed reliever Matt Thornton.
"We're really excited to bring Jake in here," said Cherington, who noted that Red Sox special assignment scout Mark Wasinger was the scout who originally signed Peavy to a big league contract after he was drafted in the 15th round by San Diego in 1999. "He's obviously a proven major league starter with a ton of success in his career.
"The one thing we wanted to do, if we could pull it off, when we looked at the next two months, we're in a position to compete for a playoff spot,and adding a starting pitcher was the most important thing we could do to add to that."
Peavy took to Twitter to thank the South Side faithful.
THANK YOU Chicago! It's been an honor & a privilege to pitch for u! You are 1st class & I will never forget you! So many emotions right now!
— Jake Peavy (@JakePeavy_44) July 31, 2013
The Red Sox explored other options, including talks with the Philadelphia Phillies about left-hander Cliff Lee, but those talks went nowhere, as the Phillies reportedly were seeking a package in return that included top prospect Xander Bogaerts, the 20-year-old shortstop who is projected to be in the big leagues by next season, if not sooner.
Iglesias, a Cuban defector who signed a four-year, $8.24 million contract as a 19-year-old in 2009, was recently praised by Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz as the best fielder he has ever seen, better even, Ortiz loudly proclaimed in the Boston clubhouse last week, than Omar Vizquel, an 11-time Gold Glove winner at shortstop.
Iglesias seamlessly made the transition to third base when called up in a utility role by the Red Sox on May 24 and took over the position full-time when Will Middlebrooks was sent down to Pawtucket in late June. He surprised everyone by maintaining a .400-plus average until July 6, when he went into a 11-for-62 slide (.177) in which his average dropped from .403 to its current .330. He singled in three at-bats Tuesday.
"We are excited to be adding a quality player to our middle infield," Tigers GM David Dombrowski said in a statement. "He is a young player that will provide a lot of depth and has had success playing a variety of roles in the infield."
Peralta could receive as much as a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis investigation, with reports that a suspension could come as soon as this week. Iglesias also gives the Tigers a viable alternative to re-signing the 31-year-old Peralta, a prospective free agent, after the season. Peralta was batting .308 with 10 home runs and 53 RBIs, but the Tigers should have enough offense to withstand the loss of his bat, while getting a major boost defensively.
Cherington said the Red Sox were satisfied after reviewing Peavy's medical records that he could sustain his record of success, not only for the rest of this season but in 2014, when he will be owed $14.5 million in the last year of his contract. There is also a $15 million club option for 2015.
Peavy has a history of shoulder and elbow problems, and has thrown 200 innings or more only once since 2007. He had shoulder surgery in 2010 and went on the disabled list in 2011 with an inflamed rotator cuff. He also was on the DL in both 2004 and 2008 with elbow issues, had a severe ankle injury that caused him to miss a big chunk of the 2009 season, and had a rib fracture that sidelined him from June 4 until he returned to the White Sox rotation on July 25.
"We're comfortable with where he is physically," Cherington said. "We went through his medical records. The rib injury was a freak thing, and he has had no arm issues since his surgery. We feel comfortable with where he is for this year and next year as well."
Boston had multiple scouts at both of Peavy's recent starts, and while there was some sentiment that Peavy was not throwing as well as he did in 2012, when he struck out 194 batters in 219 innings while posting a 3.37 ERA, the consensus was that Peavy represented a major upgrade for a rotation that is uncertain as to when undefeated ace Clay Buchholz, who has been on the DL with shoulder bursitis since June 8, will return.
Dombrowski confirmed Cherington's account that the deal came together quickly, with talks between the clubs not picking up in earnest until early Tuesday evening.
"It didn't really start taking place until close to game time," Dombrowski said. "And what ended happening -- you know the [Red Sox] are deep at shortstop, they got [Stephen] Drew at short now, they got Iglesias, who they like, they have Bogaerts coming.
"They asked us about a couple other players that we weren't willing to do, not that we wanted to give up Garcia, but it came along pretty quickly. I said basically I don't want to see Avisail Garcia play against us 18, 19 times a year for the next 10 years but [would agree] if we also come up with a real good player at shortstop."
Garcia, 22, has been dubbed "mini-Miggy' for his Venezuelan roots and facial resemblance to AL MVP Miguel Cabrera. He made his big league debut last season for the Tigers, hitting .319 in 23 games. Garcia split this season between Detroit and Toledo, batting .241 with two home runs in 30 games with the Tigers, while posting an impressive slash line of .382/.414/.549 in 32 games for Toledo, hitting five homers.
Cherington would not say who will replace Iglesias as the team's third baseman. Right-handed hitting Brandon Snyder, who has played third 13 times for the Red Sox this season, is still with the club. The Red Sox called up Brock Holt on Wednesday. He has played third nine times for the Sox. The team did not recall Middlebrooks, who was demoted after hitting .192 in 53 games, or Bogaerts, who was promoted to Triple-A earlier this season. Middlebrooks is hitting .257 with eight homers and 30 RBIs in 36 games for Pawtucket.
Asked if Boston planned to do anything more before Wednesday's 4 p.m. deadline, Cherington said: "There's a few hours left, so we'll keep working, but there's nothing imminent, nothing close. We'll see if anything makes sense, but I wouldn't handicap it, wouldn't expect it."
ESPN's Buster Olney and ESPNChicago.com's Doug Padilla and Bruce Levine contributed to this report.