Peavy's future in the pen, Reed's tools for rising out of it, and the Escobar-Johnson battle

Peavy's future in the pen, Reed's tools for rising out of it, and the Escobar-Johnson battle
What do you want? It's a picture of Peavy throwing. This is a picture you put for a post like this // Brian Cassella, Tribune photo

In the wake of throwing 5 no-hit innings on Saturday, Jake Peavy pondered the possibility of finishing up his career in a relief role.  It's an interesting reaction given the shining success that his outing was--albeit against a minors-laden Mariners lineup--but was also addressing a suggestion that's inevitable for any successful starter undergoing injury issues as persistent as Peavy's.

"If I can't stay healthy for 200 innings, if somebody says something about closing or being a reliever, I can do that, I can be a reliever," the White Sox pitcher said on Saturday. "How do I know that? I can be a reliever because I think I can. That's the bottom line. I can do something because I believe I can do it. If it comes down to that, I'll do it because I love this game."

Another reason to think Peavy would be successful is that he's a once-elite strikeout pitcher with a complement of pitches so expansive he's almost wasted as a reliever.  In the pen, he'd be able to ramp up velocity and be freed of the endurance issues that plagued his 2011 campaign.  The hyper-dominant 4-inning relief outing against the Nationals last June was a taste at what that would look like.  Even if, you know, he was pretty much ruined after it.

Just because Peavy is acknowledging the possibility doesn't mean he's slackened in his efforts to pitch 200 innings.  He's too much of a verified crazy person in that regard to really be questioned, but it does outline how this year is one of his last chances at proving himself capable.  And there are limits to how good of a chance it is.

Right now, he says he's feeling the best he has since coming to Chicago, but MRIs of his shoulder show the overall wear and tear. He confided that it's never going to get any better. The last few years have just been a mental horror show.

Eeeehhh, maybe he'll be fine anyway??

Addison Reed embraces the inevitability of being a Don Cooper student

Addison Reed has apparently added a cutter, and pretty much on his own.  Not only does that make him ahead of the usual Cooper development schedule, but apparently pitchers are now adding cutters simply by being in proximity to Cooper's aural presence.

As for what actually happened:

Rookie reliever Addison Reed, the organization's No. 1 prospect, has added a cutter to his fastball, slider and changeup. He discovered it almost by accident while "messing around with grips" in a bullpen session with coach Juan Nieves.

"It feels awesome, so we'll see what happens with it," he said. "If I have all those pitches, that's just one more thing (hitters) have to be thinking about."

It is one more thing, and can only help matters if it develops into a reliable offering.  It probably doesn't do much to change his outlook.  Baseball Prospectus' Kevin Goldstein termed Reed as "a pure reliever", and Reed himself admitted "I’ve never, ever wanted to be a starter."  More tools means more for Reed to fall back on if his wipeout slider isn't working, but the late-innings are where he'll stay.

Escobar vs. Johnson

If the selection of the 25th man from a candidate of marginal major-leaguers is really going to come down to who has the best March hot streak, then Eduardo Escobar and Dan Johnson have broken away from the pack.

Escobar has put a ball in play in absolutely every one of his 21 at-bats, and even yanked a 3-run homer to left on Saturday.  The fly ball that just kept carrying was a surprising display of power from the little fella, but his .429/.429/.619 line is buttressed by something like a .450 BABIP at this point.  It's what you could expect from a Spring Training hot streak from a slap hitter.

Dan Johnson has hit two home runs this Spring, and walked five times, so one could argue that his success is more sustainable if it wasn't accompanied by a rather large strikeout percentage.  Then again, who wouldn't like a swing-from-the-heels power-slugging lefty on the bench?  Man, if only that's what Dan Johnson was.

It'd be really nice if Ozzie Martinez could do an impression of a Major Leaguer.  Johnson hasn't been used around the diamond enough to show that he has any defensive utility, and I actually care about stunting Escobar's development by promoting him to where he'll be horribly overmatched.  Martinez offers neither of those problems.


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