The injury-riddled Giants moved to bolster their starting rotation Saturday morning, acquiring veteran right-hander Jake Peavy from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for Triple-Apitchers Heath Hembree and Edwin Escobar.
General manager Brian Sabean said the Giants were motivated to execute the trade by a lack of progress from Matt Cain, who was placed on the disabled list July 21 with elbow inflammation. Sabean said Cain has not responded to “the protocols that our orthopedic people are checking on” and will likely require further opinions, with no timeline for his return.
“There may be a worst-case scenario behind the scenes – we haven’t got to that,” Sabean said. “But the impetus to act as quickly as we did (was) we really felt that he’ll be out for a while no matter what, and we didn’t want to stay constant.”
Peavy, who will make his Giants debut Sunday against the Los Angeles Dodgers, was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA this season with the Red Sox. But the Giants feel he’s an upgrade over Yusmeiro Petit (3-3, 4.24 ERA), the long reliever who has been filling in for Cain. Sabean said the deal also was accelerated by Boston’s willingness to buy out most of Peavy’s remaining contract, leaving the Giants responsible for just $2 million for the rest of this season.
That was key for Sabean as he continues to search for potential position player upgrades before Thursday’s trade deadline, particularly at second base, where the Giants have been hit hard by injuries and Friday called up Dan Uggla days after signing him to a minor-league deal. Sabean said Saturday that while Peavy’s deal leaves the Giants with some financial flexibility, “There just aren’t enough players on the table at this point.”
Peavy, 33, will be reunited with manager Bruce Bochy, for whom he pitched with the San Diego Padres from 2002 until 2006, when Bochy left to manage the Giants. He returns to the National League for the first time since 2009; Peavy won the N.L. Cy Young Award in 2007 and was a two-time All-Star with the Padres.
Despite his record this season, Sabean said the Giants had eight different scouts watch Peavy pitch in recent months and had all eight “recommend him as a fourth starter and recommend we trade for him.”
“He doesn’t throw quite as hard (as in San Diego), but he’s still 92 mph, in that area, has a good breaking ball, changeup, and has that fire – that’s the most important part,” Bochy said. “He’s as tough a competitor as any pitcher or player I’ve ever had. That’s how hard he goes for you.”
Escobar and Hembree were both touted prospects in the Giants’ system, but Sabean said they had fallen recently on the organization’s internal prospect rankings, as evidenced by other pitchers being promoted to the majors ahead of them this season.
Asked whether he expects Cain to pitch again this season, Sabean said “That’s out of my realm. … We haven’t checked off all the boxes, so I can’t answer that, I really can’t.”
The Giants on Saturday also placed catcher Hector Sanchez on the seven-day concussion DL and called up Andrew Susac from Triple-A Fresno. Sanchez suffered a concussion when he was struck by a foul tip Friday night. Susac, the Roseville native and Jesuit High School alum, learned he was being called up late Friday and arrived at AT&T Park on Saturday.
“It’s a dream come true,” Susac said before Saturday’s game. “I didn’t know if it would come this early, but it’s here and it hasn’t really kicked in yet. Just trying to soak it in.”
Bochy said Susac will be the Giants’ backup catcher in Sanchez’s absence, and that, “I see him catching maybe once a week, somewhere in that area.
“Whether I put him with (Tim Lincecum) or not, I’ll think about that. But he’s a guy that you can use off the bench, too, with the bat he provides us. This guy, it’s a matter of time before he’s going to be up here on a regular basis. That’s how much we think of him.”