May 31 – Happy Birthday Jake Peavy

peavyJake Peavy is one of fourteen pitchers on the all-time Boston Red Sox roster to have won a Cy Young Award during his big league career. Only three of those hurlers, Jim Lonborg, Roger Clemens (3) and Pedro Martinez (2) achieved that honor while wearing a Red Sox uniform. Peavy won his in 2007, when he went 19-6 for the San Diego Padres. The hard-throwing right-hander had been a 15th round draft choice of the Padres in 1999 and made his big league debut with that team in 2002.

He had a shot to win his twentieth game of that ’07 season when he squared off against the Rockies in a one-game playoff to determine who would win that year’s NL Wild Card postseason slot. Peavy failed to do so but he was rewarded for his great regular season performance with a huge 4-year $52 million contract extension that December.

The Padres then declined into a non-contending team over the next two seasons and by 2009, it became pretty clear that the front-office of a re-building San Diego ball club wanted to dump Peavy’s contract. It took them a bit too long to get a deal done because Peavy didn’t want to leave and then strained a tendon in his ankle, dramatically lowering his market appeal.

At the ’09 trading deadline, this native of Mobile, Alabama was dealt to the White Sox for prospects, while he was still recovering from his ankle injury. When he was ready to pitch for his new team, he looked like the Jake Peavy of old, going 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA and it looked as if Chicago had struck gold.

That perception quickly changed when Peavy lost four of his first seven decisions in 2010 and saw his ERA climb over six. He righted himself however, winning four of his next five starts but then detached a muscle in his back during an early July start against the Angels and his season was over. During the five whole or partial seasons he pitched in the Windy City, Peavy made just 84 starts, went 36-29 and had an ERA of 4.00. He did make the 2012 All Star team and win a Gold Glove that same year but 3 dozen wins for $50 million does not compute.

That’s why Peavy landed in Boston at the trading deadline of the 2013 season. The Red Sox needed a starter and old Jake won them 4 of his 5 decisions down the team’s division-winning stretch. He was a bust in Boston’s victorious postseason and thus far in 2014, he has not pitched well either, but few of the team’s pitchers have. Still, its pretty clear that this legally blind devout Christian is at a crossroads in Beantown. How well he pitches during his next two or three starts will determine his fate.

Here are all of the fourteen current and former Red Sox pitchers who have won Cy Young Awards during their big league careers along with the years in which they won it:

Jake Peavy (2007)
Bartolo Colon (2005)
Roger Clemens (2004, ’01, 1998, ’97, ’91, ’87, ’86)
Greg Gagne (2003)
Pedro Martinez (2000, 1999, ’97)
John Smoltz (1996)
David Cone (1994)
Dennis Eckersley (1992)
Bret Saberhagen (1985, ’89)
Frank Viola (1988)
Sparky Lyle (1977)
Tom Seaver (1975, ’73, ’69)
Ferguson Jenkins (1971)
Jim Lonborg (1967)

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