The second tier of the free agent pitching market is basically gone now, with Jake Peavy re-signing with the San Francisco Giants, per Ken Rosenthal and Jerry Crasnick. Crasnick says Peavy is getting $24 million guaranteed over two years, with $4 million coming up front in a signing bonus, plus $7 million in 2015 and $13 million in 2016. Peavy also gets a full no-trade clause, according to Crasnick.
The Cubs hadn’t been tied to Peavy since they signed Jon Lester and Jason Hammel, so there was no loss here for the Cubs.
If you needed further evidence that Jason Hammel left money on the table to return to the Cubs, by the way, this is it. Hammel’s deal pays him $9 million in each of the next two years, and then the Cubs hold a $12 million option for 2017 ($2 million buyout). So, Hammel is getting $20 million guaranteed over the next two years – $4 million less than Peavy.
The two righties have been very similar pitchers over the last two years, with Hammel the better pitcher to my eye in 2014. The 2015 season will be Peavy’s age 34 season, but Hammel’s age 32 season. Peavy’s got the name and the longer track record, but I’d say Hammel is a strong bet to be the better pitcher over the next two years.
Not that it’s always about comparing these contracts, but it once again seems like the Cubs got the best deal in the second tier of the pitching market this year. Even better, they got a guy whom they know well, who can be a fantastic middle-of-the-rotation starter for them, and who is very happy to be back with the Cubs.
As for the Giants, it’s conceivable they still go after James Shields from here, but it seems like their focus should be at least as heavy on trying to replace Pablo Sandoval at third base. I’m not saying I want to see anything happen, but I’d be very surprised if the Giants weren’t periodically pinging the Cubs about Luis Valbuena.
The Shields market, then, is pretty hard to peg right now. Ditto Max Scherzer.