Cardinals parachuted in yesterday to scout Peavy. Remember they had a lot of interest in him at deadline last season— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) July 7, 2014
Why this makes sense
The Cardinals have dealt with an inordinate amount of injuries to their starting rotation this season. Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia were placed on the disabled list in recent weeks. Joe Kelly has been on the DL since mid-April, and although he's expected to be activated soon, the Cards could still use a dependable arm in the rotation. Enter Peavy, who would bring strong veteran experience and a history of success in the NL to a thin Cardinals rotation.
Right now the Cards are four games behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central and one game behind the Giants for a wild card spot. A thin pitching staff this time of year will tax a bullpen and put even additional pressure on the rest of the starters to come through. Adding Peavy would not only bring stability to the current rotation but give Mike Matheny options the rest of the way once players get healthy.
While Peavy is 1-7 with a 4.64 ERA this season, he's a valued veteran with extensive experience and success in the National League with a career record of 92-68 and a 3.29 ERA. Additionally, in his last two starts, Peavy has shown off for scouts with a 2.25 ERA in 12 innings pitched. He also has postseason experience with both the San Diego Padres and Red Sox.
Why this doesn't make sense
Let's be honest: the current model Jake Peavy is a far cry from previous models who have pitched in the National League. It's possible a return to the NL could provide a bit of a spark, but fans shouldn't jump to any conclusions based on older memories. Peavy's hit career lows in strikeouts per nine innings in his tenure with the BoSox (6.6), and he's walking more hitters (3.4/9) than any year since he was 22 years old. As for that postseason experience, he's 0-3 with a 9.27 ERA in five playoff starts.
In addition, the Cardinals are getting Kelly back on Friday if rumors are true, and he's looked solid enough in three rehab starts with a 2.61 ERA in 10-plus innings. Carlos Martinez has looked good after being added to the roster, and the team is still evaluating Wacha week-to-week after he suffered a stress fracture in his throwing shoulder. Progress has been made, however, and there's reason to believe he will return. It's possible that prospects like Tim Cooney could also step in and help fill the void. In other words, if the Cardinals could hold the fort, time might heal wounds enough to provide what they need.
When there's this smoke, there's likely a lot of fire. It likely depends on how much John Mozeliak believes in Peavy's ability to provide real value down the stretch run. The experience is there, and the Cardinals GM will likely want another veteran arm around anyway for the remainder of the season. Peavy is a free agent after this season, and he's due more than $6 million the rest of this season. If the price is right and they can stomach the salary, the trigger will be pulled.