Peavy's value drops in Chicago, healthy or not

July, 31, 2009

It's not normal practice for players on the disabled list to get traded, but the San Diego Padres were apparently desperate to move Jake Peavy and his large salary, and the Chicago White Sox were more than pleased to complete a deal that nearly occurred two months ago.

Jake PeavyChristopher Hanewinckel/US PresswireWhenever Jake Peavy returns from an ankle injury, he'll be playing in a home park much less friendly to pitchers than Petco.

The problem for fantasy owners is when will Peavy actually pitch again this season? The former Cy Young winner hasn't been on the mound since early June after tearing a tendon in his right ankle, and while the right-hander is making progress in his rehab assignment, there might not be much fantasy value here in one-year leagues. Peavy has a 3.97 ERA and 1.18 WHIP this season, and certainly leaving the Padres for any team with a decent batting order will result in better run support.

Then again, will that run support -- when he's healthy -- outweigh the fact Peavy cannot call Petco Park home anymore? Home runs get hit at U.S. Cellular Field. It's a lot tougher to do so at Petco Park. Peavy would likely see quite the adjustment in his stats; for the record, Peavy has a 3.58 ERA in eight starts at home this season, and a 4.60 ERA on the road. In his career, Peavy's splits are similarly lopsided, with a difference of more than one run between his home and road ERAs. Fantasy owners shouldn't forget about Peavy in 2010, but view this much like we did the Matt Holliday defection from Colorado to Oakland. That trade hurt Holliday's numbers, but he remained a top-30 hitter on draft day. Even if we're told he's 100 percent healthy, I'm doubtful Peavy would be ranked in my top 10 for starting pitchers next season. He should be good, but not the Peavy we've come to expect.

For this season, I'm not expecting more than 10 starts for Peavy with the White Sox, so fantasy owners shouldn't overreact in AL-only leagues, and those in mixed formats should try to stash him away for later, but they were doing that anyway. The White Sox will need to scramble a bit to fill the rotation spot, and I don't see a fantasy winner there in the short term. You don't want Bartolo Colon, trust me.

The Padres pick up a few major league-ready arms in Aaron Poreda and Clayton Richard, along with Adam Russell and Dexter Carter. Poreda has been a top prospect in the Chicago organization for a few years, and while the White Sox had used him in relief, he should be starting. Poreda is a high-upside left-hander who could really thrive in a large ballpark like Petco. The Padres could take their time with him, but his is a name to learn for 2010.

Those in AL-only leagues are probably disappointed Richard is gone, because he had pitched well of late. Like Poreda he is left-handed, but he's older and more mature, and should go right into the Padres' rotation. Richard had pitched eight innings in each of his past two outings and allowed one run in each. Again, put any fly ball/strikeout pitcher in San Diego and he can become interesting for fantasy owners. I think of the four pitchers the Padres received, Richard can help fantasy owners the most this season.

Eric Karabell | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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