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With Red Sox looking to free roster spot, could Jake Peavy be dealt?

07.08.14 at 7:37 pm ET
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Jake Peavy is in the middle of trade rumors with the Red Sox preparing to make a roster move to add a starter on Wednesday. (AP)

Jake Peavy is in the middle of trade rumors with the Red Sox preparing to make a roster move to add a starter on Wednesday. (AP)

The Red Sox need to make a roster move in order to add a starting pitcher — expected to be right-hander Rubby De La Rosa — from Triple-A Pawtucket by Wednesday, and so the possibility looms that there could be a roster-changing trade in the coming hours. Two Red Sox officials cautioned that it was premature to assume that a trade would occur to create the roster spot for the pitcher, but the rumor mill is churning.

Multiple reports suggest that the Red Sox and Cardinals have discussed the possibility of a trade that would send right-hander Jake Peavy to St. Louis, with ESPN.com reporting that the Cardinals had a pro scout at just one game between the Sox and Orioles over the weekend — the start made by Peavy. At a time when the Red Sox have shown considerable interest in having De La Rosa get more opportunities to pitch in the big league rotation, Peavy represents perhaps the most obvious trade candidate to open a spot for the 25-year-old De La Rosa.

Peavy, 33, is 1-7 with a 4.64 ERA, 6.8 strikeouts and 3.4 walks per nine innings. He’ll be eligible for free agency after this year, and seems unlikely to receive a one-year qualifying offer as a free agent that would net a draft pick. Thus, perhaps the only avenue for the Sox to get some value back for a player whom they acquired from the White Sox at the 2013 trade deadline in a three-way deal that saw the Red Sox part with Jose Iglesias and three lower-level minor leaguers.

At that time, the White Sox had also been talking with the Cardinals about a deal involving Peavy. Peavy acknowledged as much before his Game 3 start in the 2013 World Series between the teams.

“I did know that St. Louis was in on it and were having some talks.  I was kept abreast of a lot of the talk through [White Sox GM] Rick Hahn there in Chicago letting me know.  And I know it was a pretty serious conversation I guess they were having in St. Louis,” said Peavy. “I was obviously excited about the opportunity to be moved simply because of the situation I was in in Chicago. Really all the teams that I felt I would be moved to were teams I was happy to go to because of the position their team was in.  St. Louis is a city, a team, an organization that I’ve always respected.  I love the National League style of game.  Nothing excites me any more than getting to be a part tomorrow night and trying to get a bunt down, maybe hitting and running, and feeling like a true baseball player, as opposed to how we are as a pitcher in the American League. I would have been excited to come to St. Louis.  It’s a place I dearly love and enjoyed playing in any time through here. But that being said, everything has a way of working itself out the way it should.  I found a home in Boston, that I couldn’t be anymore thankful to be.”

As for the potential return, the Cardinals — in the market for starting pitchers after seeing both Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia go down with injuries — have a crowded outfield mix, and so Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com suggested that Allen Craig — who plays first and both corner outfield spots — could be a trade candidate.

Craig struggled badly out of the gate this year, hitting .170/.221/.239 through 23 games, but since then, in 63 games, he’s hitting .273/.323/.406 with six homers. Such marks are far removed from his pre-2014 levels (.306/.358/.492), but still suggest a hitter who is capable of adding some thump to a Red Sox outfield that has combined for a .232/.305/.330 mark with just 12 homers, particularly given that the right-handed hitting Craig is hitting .272/.310/.494 against lefties.

Craig, who turns 30 on July 18, is in the second year of a five-year, $31 million deal that includes a $13 million team option (and $1 million buyout) for 2018.

Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, however, reported that the Cardinals are looking to add offense rather than starting pitching.

“Any interest in Peavy this year would hinge on acquiring a pitcher like him without giving up much in return,” Goold wrote. “Peavy has around $7 million remaining on his salary and he’s a free agent at the end of the season. The Cardinals are reluctant to part with any of their top outfield or pitching prospects at the upper two levels for a pricey rental.”

The Sox need not be locked into a deal of Peavy to clear a spot for Wednesday’s starter. The team still has candidates to option or a trip to the disabled list for a pitcher could open a spot. But certainly, there’s the potential for the first move of what could be a fascinating stretch between now and the July 31 trade deadline.

Peavy is aware of those realities. The pitcher said that he wants to remain with the Red Sox, saying that he would be “extremely disappointed” to be moved. But after having been dealt both from the Padres to the White Sox at the 2009 deadline and again from the White Sox to the Red Sox last July 30, he’s not losing sleep over his fate.

‘€œMy job is to pitch for the Red Sox,’€ Peavy said. ‘€œThat’s what I hope continues to happen. I want to be here. I want to turn things around with this group of guys.

“Certainly being through this twice now and having it happen, there’s no anxiety,” he added. “I certainly hear those talks. I’m kept abreast by my representation, by people who should know a little bit about what they’re talking about, because you do want to have a little bit of a heads up. But at the same time, you can’t bring any of that to work. I try to take care of all that before I come to work, because when you come here, it’s got to be about business.”

Rob Bradford contributed to this report.

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