White Sox acquire Detroit's Garcia, three Red Sox prospects
CLEVELAND -- Jake Peavy was walking through the Progressive Field visitors' clubhouse Tuesday night following the Indians' 7-4 victory when he stopped to charge his cellphone, noticed a group of reporters standing together and hit them with a question.
"What are you guys hearing?" the always engaging Peavy said with a smile. "Give me some information."
When one of the reporters said it was quiet, Peavy paused, smiled again and added, "It's definitely not quiet."
Approximately two hours later, Peavy officially had joined the Boston Red Sox starting rotation.
The anticipated trade of the White Sox veteran finally went down as part of a three-way maneuver involving the American League Central-leading Tigers. The White Sox acquired outfielder Avisail Garcia from Detroit, via Boston, as well as Red Sox Minor League infielder Cleulius Rondon and pitchers Francelis Montas and Jeffrey Wendelken.
Detroit acquired infielder Jose Iglesias from the Red Sox, while the Red Sox also received pitcher Brayan Villarreal from Detroit. But the present focus of this trade for the White Sox is who they picked up, as well as who they subtracted.
In the 32-year-old Peavy, the White Sox not only lost a top-of-the-rotation hurler but also a staff leader and mentor.
Prospects acquired by White Sox
Francellis Montas, RHP: Any conversation about the 20-year-old Dominican right-hander has to start with arm strength. Montas has a plus fastball that has reached triple digits at times during his brief career. Signed back in 2009, he was pushed to full-season ball as a starter in 2013 and hit some bumps along the way, though he was pitching a bit better in July right before the trade. Montas has a slider and a changeup, but both aren't consistent, and he struggles with command of all his pitches. Some see him as a reliever in the future, but he's young enough to let develop as a starter for now.
J.B. Wendelken, RHP: Wendelken parlayed an outstanding year as a reliever at Middle Georgia Junior College into being selected in the 13th round of the 2012 Draft. He's a bit of a maximum-effort guy, so there was no question that his future would be in a bullpen. Wendelken has had a successful first full season in the South Atlantic League, making the All-Star team and saving 10 games for Greenville at the time of the trade. He probably doesn't have the stuff to close, with a fastball in the 93-94 mph range, but he goes right after hitters, throws strikes and has proven to be tough to hit thus far in his career.
Cleuluis Rondon, 2B/SS: The Red Sox signed Rondon in November 2010 out of Venezuela, and he'd been making slow, incremental progress since. He spent his first time in the organization in the Dominican Summer League, then made his United States debut in 2012 in the Gulf Coast League. Rondon moved up to the short-season New York-Penn League in 2013 and was having a solid, yet unspectacular campaign, at age 19. He has played mostly shortstop prior to this year, shifting over to largely play second this summer. Rondon has good actions defensively and could be a solid utility guy at the very least. If the switch-hitter's bat can come -- there is some room for added strength -- he could end up developing into a solid everyday middle infielder, though that's several years away.
Peavy expressed his feelings via Twitter: "THANK YOU Chicago! It's been an honor & a privilege to pitch for u! You are 1st class & I will never forget you! So many emotions right now!
"It's tough. This is obviously not the position we want to be in right now," said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn on a Tuesday night conference call to discuss the trade. "We didn't re-sign Jake Peavy this past offseason with the intention we were going to be in a position at the Deadline where it was obvious that it made the most sense for the long-term health of the organization and strength of our system to move him.
"We signed Jake Peavy because he's a front-end starter on a championship team, he has that kind of ability. He's going to help Boston immensely down the stretch run we believe and into next year as well.
"People don't get to see on a daily basis in terms of his mentoring of his younger pitchers on the staff --- [John] Danks, [Jose] Quintana, [Chris] Sale --- Jake's game preparation and approach and professionalism has had a big influence on them and is going to serve them well throughout their careers," Hahn said. "They can take what they've learned from Jake and continue to incorporate it."
Peavy still has approximately $5.28 million owed to him in 2013 and will earn $14.5 million in 2014 from the two-year, $29-million extension agreed upon in the offseason. It's money that will be assumed by the Red Sox.
Adding the right-hander to the mix could make the Red Sox the American League favorite, let alone the favorite in the AL East. Garcia, 22, meanwhile falls into the work-in-progress category, but a five-tool work according to Hahn.
"We're very excited about his upside," said Hahn of his outfielder. "Someone who is not only going to hit for average, for power, run well, above-average defense. He's still young and still has a little bit of development ahead of him. But we feel we've acquired someone with a great deal of upside who is going to have a big impact on the South Side for many years to come. The other players obviously are farther away."
Wendelken and Montas, who are both 20, have "big arms, but both have the ability to mix in four different pitches," according to Hahn. Wendelken has been working out of the bullpen and will probably continue doing that for Class-A Kannapolis. But he's got "closer mentality," added Hahn of the right-hander.
Montas has hit triple-digits with his pitches but has a little delivery work to complete in the Minors. Rondon is a 19-year-old switch-hitting middle infielder, who has a real feel for the game and is smooth with his actions per Hahn's descriptions. His future role should be based on his offensive development.
There's little doubt that Garcia is the centerpiece of this trade, a player who shows a strong resemblance to Miguel Cabrera, but he has a ways to go to resemble him as a hitter. The right-handed-hitting outfielder has a .380 average, six homers and 27 RBIs between two stops in the Minors at Triple-A Toledo and Class A Lakeland, after hitting .241 with two homers and 10 RBIs for the Tigers.
His White Sox career begins with Triple-A Charlotte, as the team is looking to get Garcia regular, everyday at-bats. After the trade, Garcia tweeted his thanks to the Tigers organization and their fan base while expressing his excitement for the adventure ahead of him.
"I'm also looking fwd to my new journey in the @whitesox organization and I am very grateful for this opportunity," tweeted Garcia. "#Chicago here we come!"
Jesse Crain (Tampa Bay), Matt Thornton (Boston) and Peavy all are gone from an Opening Day White Sox roster expected to contend for the postseason. Tuesday's deal that took shape earlier in the day as a three-team trade after all one-on-one trade options with Boston dating back to the All-Star break were exhausted by Hahn could be the last one before Wednesday's 3 p.m. CT non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Then again, the rebuilding or reshaping enacted by Hahn might have another step or two.