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Red Sox complete three-way deal with White Sox, Tigers to acquire Jake Peavy

07.30.13 at 10:42 pm ET
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According to multiple major league sources, the Red Sox have consummated a three-way deal with the White Sox and Tigers to bring right-hander Jake Peavy to Boston. While the final shape of the deal is not yet clear, shortstop Jose Iglesias is involved in it. Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not.

The Red Sox will also include other lower level minor leaguers in the deal, with one believed to be second baseman Cleuluis Rondon, currently with Short-Season Single-A Lowell. (WEEI.com reported at one point that GCL second baseman Wendell Rijo was believed to be in the deal; that proved incorrect, as the Sox are not going to deal the promising 17-year-old.)

The Sox will also acquire right-handed reliever Brayan Villarreal from the Tigers, currently on the disabled list but someone who is potentially capable of filling a void in the bullpen.

UPDATE: The deal is official. The Red Sox sent Iglesias to the Tigers for outfielder Avisail Garcia and right-hander Villareal, then sent Garcia and minor leagues Rondon, J.B. Wendelken and Francellis Montas to the White Sox for Peavy.

Peavy is 8-4 with a 4.28 ERA, 76 strikeouts and just 17 walks in 80 innings this year. He missed time earlier this year, but the issue was a broken rib rather than anything related to his shoulder or elbow. He is viewed as a potential difference-maker going forward.

“He’s had a ton of success in his career. I think if there’s one thing we wanted to do if we could pull it off, it was to add a starting pitcher for the next two months,” said Sox GM Ben Cherington. “We just felt like adding a starting pitcher was the most important thing we could do.”

One of Peavy’s former teammates is bullish on what the right-hander brings to the mound.

“Jake has been a leader in terms of his stuff and preparation and competitive nature. He’s awesome. He’s a great pitcher, great competitor. He’s adjusted himself from what he was five, six, seven years ago when he was 97 mph with a filthy slider. He has a game plan out there, he executes it and he sticks to it,” said Sox left-hander Matt Thornton, Peavy’s teammate with the White Sox until the former was dealt to the Red Sox earlier this month. “There’s one thing that will drive Jake Peavy nuts and that’s walking someone. He doesn’t care what it is in a situation. He’d rather give up a homer than walk a guy. It’s just the way he’s built. He goes out there, continues to attack people with quality stuff. It’s not like his fastball is straight or anything like that. He’s a great pitcher. He’s got great stuff, but he won’t walk people. He refuses to.”

Peavy, the 2007 Cy Young Award winner with the Padres, was acquired by the White Sox at the trade deadline in 2009. He was an All-Star in 2012 en route to an 11-12 record with a 3.37 ERA, 8.0 strikeouts and 2.0 walks per nine innings.

The 32-year-old Peavy is under contract both for this year and for $14.5 million in 2014. The fact that the Sox would be getting multiple years of control in exchange for their prospect concession made him particularly appealing, as opposed to a rental such as right-hander Matt Garza, who went from the Cubs to the Rangers but will be eligible for free agency following this year.

Villareal has a gaudy 20.77 ERA in seven big league appearances for the Tigers this year. Last year, however, he was little short of outstanding for Detroit, with a 2.63 ERA, 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings and 4.6 walks per nine in 50 games (54 2/3 innings). Most notably, he held right-handers to a .206/.261/.286 line last year — meaning he has a chance to address a deficiency (right-handed relief) in the Sox bullpen.

The Sox saw him throwing 92-98 mph with swing-and-miss stuff while working to a 3.15 ERA and 10.7 strikeouts per nine in Triple-A this year, but he has work to do to be an effective big leaguer, as evidenced by his 6.8 walks per nine. He’s been on the disabled list in Toledo, and he’ll now be put on the DL with Triple-A Pawtucket.

Iglesias was pulled in the ninth inning of Tuesday’s 8-2 Red Sox win over the Mariners for defensive replacement Brandon Snyder. He went 1-for-3 on Tuesday, and while he has struggled considerably in recent weeks, the 23-year-old proved a huge contributor for the Sox this year, at one point recording an 18-game hitting streak and a run of 27 straight games on base while hitting .411/.458/.532 through the Fourth of July. But starting with a West Coast road trip, he cooled considerably over the subsequent 21 games leading. Still, he’s hitting .330 with a .376 OBP and .409 slugging mark, a performance that is little short of extraordinary given his minor league track record and the impact that it allowed him to have in combination with his dazzling defense at third and short. He affords the Tigers insurance if they should lose their starting shortstop, Jhonny Peralta, to suspension for his connection to Biogenesis.

As considerable as Iglesias’ contributions had been, he faced an uncertain long-term role with the Sox. With Xander Bogaerts pushing towards the big leagues as a shortstop or third baseman, Will Middlebrooks likewise in Pawtucket, Garin Cecchini enjoying a spectacular season in High-A Salem and Double-A Portland and Deven Marrero looking like a solid future big league shortstop in his first full pro season (spent in High-A Salem), there were questions as to whether the Sox would commit to Iglesias for the long haul given the questions about his bat (and despite his jaw-dropping defensive capabilities).

Rondon, 19, was hitting .277 with a .328 OBP, .353 slugging mark and five steals in 36 games as a shortstop and second baseman with Lowell. He’s athletic and a strong defender, but his limited offensive projection suggests someone with the profile of a future big league utility player rather than a starter.

Montas, 20, is the hardest thrower in the Red Sox system, regularly touching the high-90s and even 100 with a power fastball and, at times, a wipeout slider for Single-A Greenville. However, because of his up-and-down control and lack of a third pitch, he projects as a future reliever. He was 2-9 with a 5.70 ERA, 10.1 strikeouts per nine and 3.4 walks per nine in the South Atlantic League.

Wendelken, 20, was a nice find for the Red Sox in the 13th round of the 2012 draft, emerging as a South Atlantic League All-Star this year in his first pro season. The 20-year-old is 2-0 with a 2.81 ERA, 7.6 strikeouts per nine and 2.8 walks per nine in 64 innings spanning 26 relief appearances in Greenville. As should be evident from his current role, he projects as a future reliever.

From the White Sox’ perspective, the key to the deal was Garcia. The 22-year-old is hitting .382/.414/.549 with five homers in 32 games with Triple-A Toledo. In 53 big league games between 2012 and 2013, Detroit’s 2012 minor league player of the year has hit .269/.309/.354.

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