Rick Hahn, executive of the year.
OK, maybe not yet, but the new Chicago White Sox general manager is off to a great start.
Signing Jake Peavy for only two years and a option at the going rate for a top-of-the-rotation pitcher is a great deal for the Sox, even at $29 million. The option is based on Peavy’s pitching like Peavy, who threw a remarkable 219 innings this season. Peavy only has to get into the same area code as his 2012 season, and the man with the bionic right latissimus dorsi is someone the rest of the staff can follow.
Peavy was a stud this season. Chris Sale got all the wins, while Peavy got all the misery. He went 11-12 and endured a stretch where the Sox never scored for him. He made six starts in June, gave up just 13 earned runs and went 0-4. He threw a couple of complete games where he gave up just one earned run and lost both.
Yet, yet he never showed frustration with anyone other than himself. Can you imagine Carlos Zambrano in that situation?
Hahn also picked up the option on Gavin Floyd, who might be the most frustrating Sox starter since Javier Vasquez --- great stuff when he can find it, but that only seems to be half the time.
It seems incomprehensible that Planet Gavin went 12-11 while Peavy was under .500, but Floyd has won in double figures each of the last five seasons, something few AL pitchers can say. In this world of an evolving new normal with numbers and metrics, wins aren’t the barometer they used to be, but Floyd’s win-loss total pretty much reflects whether he was good or bad.
Floyd’s option was worth $9.5 million, which is fair value for even a bottom-of-the rotation pitcher for a team that plans to compete. This is different than a bottom-of-the-order pitcher for the Cubs, who will again compete for a record number of No. 5 starters. Next season, I believe the Cubs will produce their media guide with plastic sleeves.
But anyway, back to the Chicago team that has a chance next year.
Hahn sees the same team we see, much like Phil Emery’s first offseason with the Bears. The Bears finally have a GM who understands that you can’t have a passing game without receivers. What a revelation. Sweetheart, get me rewrite.
With Hahn, it’s not as obvious of a stretch. Truth is, its not a stretch at all regarding starting pitching. That’s what wins. See the Giants and Tigers for details. Ken Williams attacked that position the way Hahn just did.
Hahn looked at the immediate choices from the roster he inherited. He faced decisions on Peavy, Floyd, Kevin Youkilis and Brett Myers. All four contributed in big ways, but the Sox couldn’t afford to keep all of them.
Youkilis staggered out of Boston and immediately legitimized the Sox lineup. The Brent Morel disaster forced the Sox to forfeit third base, but Youkilis saved. Now it’s back to being a Superfund site.
Myers was versatile and solid in any of the last three innings, but those innings don’t mean anything unless you have someone who can pitch you there in Nos. 1-6.
Hahn chose starting pitching, as he should’ve. This might not be a news flash, but it’s good to see. You don’t know what a new guy will do until he does something. For starters, Hahn did the right thing.
Now don’t screw it up by talking about Alex Rodriguez filling the hole at third. He can’t play unless he’s juiced, he’s 37, and the Sox don’t have time to coddle used-to-bes.
However, it might give the Sox a chance to goose attendance by staging “Huggies Night.’’