So…Tuesday was just another whatever day; office work, cheap coffee, dealing with incompetent drivers on the I-94, reading some White Sox articles in the Tribune….Oh hey! Look, Mark Gonzales–the resident hard-working White Sox writer–wrote some piece previewing all the free agency decisions that face the team at the end of the year. For me at least, it was one long caravan of things I already knew (Pierzynski is terrible but he’s going away, no one knows if we’ll re-sign Konerko, all of our young pitchers are entering arbitration, blah, blah, blaaaaahhhhhhh).
Then, old Mark decided to go ahead and drop this little morsel….excuse me if I’m the type of guy who uses the word ‘morsel’ to replace ‘harbinger of our ultimate doom and destruction’.
“The Sox are anticipating a full recovery from Jake Peavy (shoulder), but it’s not guaranteed he can return to his low 90-mph velocity.”
I’m nothing if not a nit-picker…but since when does ‘full recovery’ mean returning as an empty shell of your former self/the 2nd-coming of Freddy Garcia??!
If I get hit by a car, spend a month in the hospital, where I’m told that I’ll spend the rest of my life in a wheelchair, and am then released. I didn’t make a full recovery….BECAUSE I CAN’T WALK!
Was Jake not a guy who blamed all of his early-season struggles on reduced velocity? Was Jake not also the guy who during his best season (his Cy Young season) led the National League in strikeouts because he’s a damn power pitcher who relies on an array of cutters, two-seamers, hard sliders, and a changeup that is only made effective by his lively fastball. I suppose I could think of pitchers worse-suited to lose 5 miles on their fastball (Matt Thornton, Bobby Jenks…the automated batting practice pitching machine), but I can’t help but notice that we’re not paying any of them $15 million dollars a year.
Freddy Garcia represents an excellent case study for what would happen to Peavy if he was suddenly transformed into a mid-80s, mix-it-up type of guy. Freddy was a resolute power pitcher early in his career–you know, back when him making an All-Star team wasn’t completely and utterly absurd–and has made a semi-successful transition to a guy who changes speed and location, features a lot of plus breaking stuff, but lacks the crisp fastball to really make any of it as effective as it could be. He makes a living, but ‘same-ole-Freddy’ would be a misnomer to say the least.
Worse yet, Freddy spent three full seasons bouncing about the Major League wilderness before latching on as our fifth starter; fitted with a new approach and style. As much as injuries played a part in that long lapse, a comparable adjustment period would be in the cards for Peavy. As if watching Jake transition into the type of guy who can’t blow anyone away and has to work around tons of hits wouldn’t seem long enough.
Kenny is clearly proud that he has the possibility of going into the off-season with six starters, but unless Jake’s shoulder/back/seemingly irrelevant muscle allows him to crank the heat again, he really just has four starters (Buehrle, Jackson, Danks, Floyd), two kinda washed-up vets (Garcia and Peavy) and The Magic Bullet (Chris Sale). Still an embarrassment of riches when you think about it, and all the more reason for the White Sox to see what they can get for Jake if they know he can’t return to full-strength.