CHICAGO – Jake Peavy will be hard pressed to top what started as a routine Tuesday.
The White Sox signed Peavy to a two-year, $29 million contract extension and hours later, the 31-year-old right-hander won his first Gold Glove Award, sharing the honor with Tampa Bay’s Jeremy Hellickson. Peavy became the third pitcher in Sox history to win the award.
Peavy holds a $15 million option for 2015 if he reaches a certain number of innings pitched both years. The Sox also must pay the $4 million buyout because of the terms in Peavy’s previous contract which will be given in equal installments from 2016-19.
“There has to be some give and take,” Peavy said. “There has to be flexibility on both parts to make ultimately a fair deal.
“I wanted to come back, but you want to come back on a deal that doesn’t hamstring a team.”
Sox general manager Rick Hahn said Peavy’s desire to stay with the Sox “played a huge role” in his return.
“The fact that he was willing to get creative with the structure for us, helped move around a little of the money in the deal I think speaks volumes to how important it was for Jake to be back with the White Sox,” Hahn said. “Without that strong desire, that deal doesn’t get done.”
The Sox first reached out to Peavy with an official offer on Oct. 8 and despite hitting some walls during negotiations, talks picked up steam within the last 72 hours.
Coming off his best season since his Cy Young Award season in 2007 with the San Diego Padres, Peavy solidifies the Sox’s rotation and allows the front office to spend their free agent money elsewhere. The Sox also exercised pitcher Gavin Floyd’s $9.5 million option for 2013 which provides more flexibility and the potential to use a six-man rotation. While Floyd could get traded during the offseason, for now, the Sox’s top four starting pitchers – Chris Sale, John Danks, Peavy, and Floyd – collectively rank among the best in the league.
“It’s nice to be sitting here before Halloween and feeling like if you do nothing, your starting rotation at least is going to be a strength,” Hahn said. “ ... It’s nice to have some options going forward.”
The Sox declined the 2013 options of pitcher Brett Myers ($10 million option, $3 million buyout) and third baseman Kevin Youkilis ($13 million option, $1 million buyout). While Hahn didn’t rule out their returns, along with free agent catcher A.J. Pierzynski, he wasn’t optimistic they would sign before Friday’s deadline. When asked if the Sox would offer those three players qualifying offers, Hahn said, “I don’t think so.”