Sox sign Peavy to 2-year deal, keep Floyd
The White Sox have signed starter Jake Peavy to a two-year deal with an option for a third season.
Rick Hahn is off to a good start as the White Sox' new general manager.
Just five days after officially taking over for Kenny Williams — who was promoted to president of baseball operations — Hahn on Tuesday deftly kept Jake Peavy off the free-agent market with a two-year, $29 million contract extension.
Had he filed for free agency Friday night, which figured to be the plan, Peavy undoubtedly would have received multiple offers in the four-year, $70 million range.
Still, it was a memorable day for Peavy, who won his first Gold Glove Award late Tuesday.
The 31-year-old starting pitcher repeatedly expressed a strong desire to return to the Sox next season and beyond.
Peavy obviously meant it, and Hahn moved fast to make it happen.
"I think our first official offer to Jake was the Monday after the season ended," Hahn said Tuesday night. "We got on it fairly quickly. We had some good dialogue the first week and as with many negotiations, we hit some walls along the way and the thing really picked up steam in the last 72 hours."
Hahn also picked up Gavin Floyd's $9.5 million option for 2013, so the White Sox' starting rotation is set with Peavy, Floyd, Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, John Danks (recovering from shoulder surgery) and possibly Hector Santiago.
"I think we've proven over the years that our better teams are ones with the stronger starting staffs," Hahn said. "Pitching and defense are going to continue to be a priority for us going forward.
"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 and the Sox have plenty more to do — particularly at third base and catcher.
The White Sox declined Kevin Youkilis' $13 million club option for next season, and the third baseman is headed for free agency. So is relief pitcher Brett Myers after the Sox took a pass on his $10 million option.
A.J. Pierzynski also is on the verge of becoming a free agent, so the White Sox have a big decision to make at catcher.
But Tuesday was all about the starting rotation, particularly Peavy.
He had an ankle injury after coming over in a July 31, 2009, trade from the San Diego Padres, and the right-hander missed big chunks of the 2010-11 seasons with a detached lat muscle and strained adductor.
But Peavy put it all together this season.
The record (11-12) was nothing special, but that was the byproduct of poor run support.
Peavy ranked in the Top 10 among American League starters in quality starts (third, 23), complete games (third, 4), strikeout-to-walk ratio (fourth, 3.96), innings pitched (fifth, 219), opponents batting average (fifth, .234), strikeouts (eighth, 194), ERA (ninth, 3.37) and starts (10th, 32).
Those are the kinds of numbers that could have earned Peavy some serious years and money on the open market, but he obviously is happy to stay put with the White Sox.
"I never wanted to play any games," Peavy said. "My desire to stay with Chicago, I was open and upfront about that and hopefully it would work out. Today is a great day for me and my family, and I hope for the White Sox as well."
Peavy originally had a $22 million club option for next season, with a $4 million buyout.
Under the extension, he will receive $14.5 million in each of the next two seasons and the $4 million buyout will now be spread out in equal installments between 2016-19.
"We certainly knew options were out there," Peavy said. "The way I feel about the White Sox organization, the way I feel my time has gone there, I just can't say enough about how strongly I feel about the city of Chicago, the fan base that stood behind me through a few rough years with injury.
"I certainly did all in my power to be where we are today, and that's returning to the place where I'm the happiest. My family and my friends who are around me love Chicago."
Floyd twice was sidelined with a strained elbow flexor this season, but he finished strong and the Sox didn't think twice about picking up his $9.5 million option.
The right-hander was 12-11 with a 4.29 ERA and 144 strikeouts in 29 starts.
Floyd, 29, has reached double figures in wins each of the past five seasons, joining Tampa Bay's James Shields, Detroit's Justin Verlander and Los Angeles' Jered Weaver as the only AL pitchers to accomplish the feat.
"I realize at times it's been a little up and down with Gavin," Hahn said. "But I hope it doesn't go unnoticed the value he brings to any rotation.
"Putting aside the fact he's been double-digit wins the last several years, more importantly he gives you somewhere in the vicinity of 180-190 innings and above league average ERA in a difficult ballpark to pitch in, in the American League."
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