The Jake Peavy trade: good for everybody


When the Red Sox dealt Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants this July, the reaction throughout Red Sox nation was one of pleasant surprise. The Red Sox had turned Peavy, who was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA at the time of the trade, into two legitimate pitching prospects in Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree. Less than three months later, though, and the trade is looking very even and could wind up being beneficial to both teams.

In 12 starts for the Giants, Peavy has exceeded expectations in a big way as his 2.17 ERA has been a driving force behind their improbable postseason run. With the injury to Matt Cain, Peavy has provided a strong #2 starter behind Giants’ ace Madison Bumgarner and, while his four-inning start last night wasn’t great, he has been a fantastic addition to the team.

Considering that the Red Sox were out of the playoff race at the time of the trade and remained well out of it throughout the rest of the season, Peavy’s success with the Giants isn’t some kind of missed opportunity that would have put the team over the edge. Peavy was a great acquisition for the stretch run of the 2013 season but he was simply terrible against American League hitters in 2014 and likely would not have improved in Boston.

No, we can cheer for Peavy with a clear conscience as he has brought two potential future contributors to the Red Sox. Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, San Francisco’s #2 and #7 prospects, respectively, entering the season look like they could both help out in the long run.

Hembree threw in just 6 games out of the Red Sox bullpen this season and didn’t look great, allowing 5 runs in 10 innings with a 6:5 K:BB ratio. However, he could shape up to be an excellent relief pitcher and while that’s not the most useful player to have, complementary pieces are essential to competitive teams. Escobar has a higher ceiling than Hembree; although he had a 4.94 ERA this season, he was just 22 years old and it was his first exposure to Triple-A competition. There’s a good chance that he could develop into a solid back-end starter and, even if he can’t, he could be a great left-handed reliever out of the Red Sox bullpen.

Prospects aren’t guaranteed, but even if one of Hembree or Escobar reaches their potential, this trade has been beneficial for both sides. It’s great to see Peavy succeeding with the Giants but the Red Sox were certainly right to trade him. We can’t fully analyze this trade until Escobar and Hembree are more fully-developed but right now, it’s looking like a winner for both teams.