Chicago White Sox pitcher Jake Peavy ended his 2012 season in fitting fashion Tuesday night. He pitched well, he went deep into the game and he ultimately failed to pick up a win.
From a wins and losses standpoint, Peavy endured a frustrating campaign. Is there any chance that he comes back for another season with the White Sox?
Peavy tossed a gem for eight innings, striking out eight Cleveland Indians and allowing just one hit, a homer by Shin-Soo Choo in the fourth. From there, Peavy allowed only a walk, facing the minimum of 15 batters following the blast.
Up 3-1 thanks to Dyan Viciedo's 24th homer in the top of the ninth, skipper Robin Ventura rightfully left Peavy in to finish what he started. I mean, why not? The race for the AL Central ended the day before, Peavy had been lights out and if anyone deserved the chance to close out a victory, it was him.
Peavy immediately gave up a base hit to Michael Brantley. Travis Hafner pinch hit and sent Peavy's second offering off the right field fair pole to tie the game. Peavy gave way to Donnie Veal, the White Sox lost 4-3 in 12 innings and once again Peavy wound up with a no decision.
Peavy was a workhorse this season after being injured or off his game since arriving in Chicago at the 2009 trade deadline. Peavy threw 219 innings over his 32 starts in 2012, going 11-12 with a 3.37 ERA. In a season filled with sore arms, skipped starts and stints on the DL, Peavy was unquestionably the rock of the staff.
In his 32 starts, Peavy did not fail to pitch at least five innings. He went at least six innings in 28 of those starts and at least seven innings in 16 of them.
Peavy went deep into games, win or lose. Some hard luck put more in the loss column, but in different circumstances, Peavy could have won close to 20 games. At the very least, he was a durable, effective pitcher for Chicago who was a key starter all season long with little to show for a big effort.
Nothing other than the $17 million Peavy received in salary for 2012. Which brings us to the main question for the White Sox to ponder.
There is little question that Chicago will buy out the $22 million option Peavy has for next season for $4 million. This would open the possibility of bringing him back at a more manageable salary.
The White Sox probably deserve a big discount in light of the money Peavy made while making sporadic starts in the first two-and-a-half seasons with the team. However, that's not the way baseball works.
Peavy was healthy for the first time in years and will have offers to sort through. If he wants to stay on the South Side, he certainly could for the right price. He also may choose to go elsewhere.
At, $10 million to $12 million for two or three years, Peavy could be worth the risk. Assuming he stays healthy, he could be an important part of a young rotation.
That might be assuming too much about a player who hit town with an injury three years ago. If Peavy's price tag rises substantially from the $12 million mark per season, the White Sox may want to bow out.
Peavy's future is going to be one of many issues for the White Sox to sort through in the offseason. He certainly raised the stakes with a healthy season. The question is whether Chicago wishes to roll the dice on Peavy again.