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Anatomy of a trade: Boston plays matchmaker
Weeks of back-and-forth discussion with the White Sox over veteran starter Jake Peavy had reached a standstill. Chicago wanted a package of prospects headlined by at least one of the jewels of the Red Sox’ replenished farm system, but general manager Ben Cherington was steadfast about holding on to his most prized prospects.
“You talk to every team at the deadline and you ask, ‘What are you trying to do, blah, blah, blah,’ so we knew Detroit had an interest in adding a shortstop,” Cherington said on Wednesday. “Since that was an area where we had at least maybe a little depth, we let (Tigers general manager) Dave Dombrowski know that it was something we could at least talk about if it made sense.
And so, in the interest of getting what they wanted, the Red Sox played matchmaker.
Just like that, the Tigers got a shortstop, the White Sox got a package of prospects fronted by Garcia, and of course, the Red Sox got their starter.
“Any time you make a trade, the hope is that it works for everyone,” Cherington said. “We hope the trade works for all three teams.”
But the trade also was a sign of the times. If shortstop Jhonny Peralta wasn’t linked to the ongoing investigation into the Miami-based Biogenesis clinic and facing a possible suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, the Tigers wouldn’t have been in the market for a shortstop.
“Somebody that has seen him play just sent me a note that said, ‘In all my years in the game, the only two defensive shortstops that I’ve seen that are better are Ozzie (Smith) and (Omar) Vizquel,’” Dombrowski told reporters. “I don’t think anybody knows what’s going to take place (with Biogenesis), but I think that there’s enough smoke you’ve got to be concerned.”
One problem: The market for starters wasn’t particularly bountiful, and in most cases, the asking price was astronomical. To wit: Nine days ago, the Cubs sent Matt Garza to the Rangers for a three-player package that included third base prospect Mike Olt and 21-year-old right-hander C.J. Edwards, never mind that Garza will be a free agent at season’s end and amounts to little more than a two-month rental in Texas.
“We went into the deadline feeling like if we could make a move to improve the team and protect our chances to compete and give us every chance to get into October we wanted to do that,” Cherington said in an early Wednesday morning conference call. “We wanted to do it in a way that’s not all about this year, preferably, and we were able to find this deal that fit in that category.”
A National League scout who has watched Peavy this season classified him as a “good, solid No. 3 (starter)” who would fit well in the Red Sox’ rotation behind Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester. And since Buchholz hasn’t pitched since June 8 and likely won’t return until at least late August because of inflammation in his right shoulder, Peavy also gives the Sox insurance that rookie right-hander Brandon Workman can’t be counted on to provide, even though Workman has pitched well since being called up three weeks ago.
“There’s so much going on this time of year you don’t have time to be too concerned about that,” he said. “There was a lot of back and forth directly with the White Sox, and we knew all along they had other options and he could go somewhere else. There’s a price you’re willing to pay and you have to be willing to let him go somewhere else if we cant get him on a deal we like. You just keep working at it, and ultimately, it just seemed when we were able to get the Tigers in the conversation it allowed all three teams to come away with what they needed.”