Hahn breaks down process behind Peavy deal
White Sox GM talks details of three-team trade that netted Garcia from Tigers
CHICAGO -- In regard to the July 30 trade involving Jake Peavy, the Tigers and the Red Sox, White Sox general manager Rick Hahn has an ideal theory as to how that complicated maneuver eventually plays out.
"Hopefully five years from now, we look back and say there are plenty of rings to go around," Hahn said.
Hahn might be stretching the truth with that statement.
Clearly, he would like to have five White Sox World Series titles five years from now. But the underlying intention of his statement was illustrating a move that worked well for all sides involved.
During a recent interview with MLB.com, Hahn spoke of the process to execute a deal that sent the right-hander to Boston, shortstop Jose Iglesias to the Tigers and outfielder Avisail Garcia, along with three Minor Leaguers, to the White Sox. Hahn provided insight into the intricacies needed in making the first major step of the White Sox reshaping process a reality.
Peavy allowed six runs on seven hits over 2 1/3 innings during a start at Safeco Field on June 4 and clearly didn't have close to his best stuff. That start followed a four-inning loss at Wrigley Field on May 30, where Peavy yielded a grand slam to opposing pitcher Travis Wood. A major part of the reason for Peavy's struggles was a fractured rib on his left side that kept him out of big league action until July 20.
During that extended absence, it became clear the 2013 White Sox would be sellers. A handful of clubs contacted the White Sox even before Peavy began throwing off the mound, just checking in, expressing interest and wanting to get a sense of timing.
Medical records were shared fairly early on with a handful of teams that were a little more aggressive and seemed to be a little more interested, as well as possessing a possible fit from the White Sox side, according to Hahn.
"We probably heard from about eight to 10 teams with interest, and from the medical standpoint, we got down to about three," Hahn said. "We knew he was only going to have a couple of starts before the deadline. So we wanted to try to get teams to understand the nature of the freak injury and why it wasn't arm related so they could put it behind them and judge what they saw with their eyes.
"By the time he made his first start," Hahn continued, "every team that was interested was basically in the same spot in saying, 'We have interest in the guy, but we are a little bit in a wait-and-see mode.'"
His return came via a strong six-inning effort against the Braves, followed up by a seven-inning victory against Detroit at home on July 25. To Hahn's surprise, the White Sox heard from a couple of teams for the first time about Peavy after that second start.
"They were at a little bit of a disadvantage in terms of other teams had put in the leg work and were a little more aggressive," Hahn said.
Early talks involving Peavy centered on what the White Sox were generally looking for: four players, all prospects, with the front end being a premium top talent.
"You want to give a sense if you are looking for quantity or quality or are you looking for positional need or a pitcher," Hahn said. "And that's usually in the first conversation or two. The subsequent ones start focusing on, 'All right, who does that mean for us? Who fits that description in your opinion?' You throw a name out and they say no and then ask, 'What about this guy instead?'
"There are clubs that come back and check back in hoping that, 'All right you wanted four guys and one premium at least and the other three legitimate prospects. Have you come off that?' Sometimes you have to. Sometimes the market doesn't bear what you set as or the market is more robust because someone wants to get it done."
One scenario presented to Hahn had five names, but that was "a pure quantity thing," with no player of Garcia's caliber.
"Trying to overwhelm us with quantity, which I get," Hahn said. "It's a legitimate way to go about it."
Given Peavy's rib injury, he wasn't going to be moved until after that second start. That malady constricted the time frame in a process where negotiations often pick up as the deadline approaches.
Moving Peavy ultimately narrowed to two primary teams when it got down to specifics of names and offers moving back and forth. Boston obtained the veteran hurler, who started the deciding Game 4 in the ALDS and Game 4 in the ALCS, to strengthen their rotation. But the deal wouldn't have happened without the Tigers' involvement.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington talked once a week with Hahn before Peavy's return and then again immediately after his first start. There were talks a couple of times in between starts and multiple times each day after that second start until the deal was finished. By Hahn's own admission, they exhausted every possible option in a potential deal involving just the two teams.
Cherington had been talking with Tigers president, CEO and general manager Dave Dombrowski about Jose Iglesias, who the Tigers would use at shortstop to replace Jhonny Peralta during his 50-game suspension. So, it was easy to loop in the Tigers to make this deal work.
Garcia wasn't offered to the White Sox until about 3 or 4 p.m. the day of the actual trade, just seven hours before the deal was announced, according to Hahn.
"It was the first time he was finally put in the mix, and we were well aware who he was. He was on our target list," said Hahn of Garcia. "We had everything we needed to know lined up on that. We did spend a couple of additional hours on some background and makeup research since he had not been immediately in our mix in recent days. Once we were comfortable on that, we were able to pull the trigger."
Once Hahn started receiving offers, he had a pretty good idea Peavy would be moved. But hanging on to Peavy until the offseason was an option he had to consider.
More teams would be willing to bid for Peavy at that point, possibly driving up the return. A few of them asked Hahn in July to keep them in mind, as they were unable economically to pull the deal off before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline. The negative impact was that Peavy would only be available for one season, for one pennant race, as opposed to the two for Boston.
Both Boston and Detroit obtained key players to assist their 2013 World Series quest. The White Sox picked up a cornerstone of their present and future, as well as Minor League infielder Cleuluis Rondon and pitchers Francellis Montas and Jeffrey Wendelken, who have Major League hope for down the road. Peavy also moved from worst to first.
No rings quite yet, but truly a good baseball trade for all parties involved.