Madison Bumgarner’s performance in the 2014 regular season and playoffs makes the left-hander the Giants’ unquestioned ace.
“But at the same time, I’m going to try to put up better numbers than Madison Bumgarner,” Jake Peavy said Tuesday. “He knows that, and I’m going to start telling him that in spring training.”
Peavy’s notorious competitiveness and veteran right arm will be back in San Francisco next season after the Giants officially announced Tuesday they re-signed the 33-year-old to a two-year deal. The Giants did not disclose financial terms of the deal, which gives them their likely starting five in the rotation barring another acquisition this offseason.
The Giants have talked with free agent James Shields and remain open to adding another starter. General manager Brian Sabean, though, indicated Monday the front office is unlikely to make moves that would significantly increase the Giants’ payroll for next season.
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“Brian wants to keep the door open,” assistant general manager Bobby Evans said on a conference call to announce the Peavy deal. “Obviously, we have a starting five. But we don’t want to eliminate an opportunity for depth or an opportunity to improve the club if it comes along.”
The rotation consists of Bumgarner, Peavy, Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum, with Yusmeiro Petit as a backup. Cain is coming off elbow surgery, and manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday the Giants won’t know exactly what they have in Cain until spring training. Lincecum was not in the rotation at the end of the 2014 season because of performance, and Hudson’s numbers fell off notably in the second half.
Hudson was returning from ankle surgery that sapped the end of his 2013 season and offseason, and Bochy said the lack of a normal offseason workout regimen may have contributed to Hudson’s dropoff from the first half (2.87 ERA) to the second (4.73 ERA). Bochy said he believes Hudson, who turns 40 in July, “is going to be fine.”
“It’s going to be a rotation that I think on a consistent basis, they’re going to give us a chance to win,” Bochy said. “I always talk about that, and that’s all you can ask for from your starters.”
Peavy, acquired via trade from Boston in July as a replacement for Cain, made 12 regular-season starts for the Giants and went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA. From Aug. 13 until the end of the season, he had a 1.35 ERA in nine starts, the lowest ERA in the majors over that span – and something Peavy believes was not a fluke.
“I wouldn’t show up if I didn’t think I could go out and replicate what I did in August and September there,” Peavy said. “And I expect to do that. I wanted to get a fair deal, and we thought that it was very fair, and I think both sides gave a little bit to make that happen.”
Peavy said he talked with “six or seven” teams interested in making offers, including some offering more money and a chance to be closer to home and his family in Alabama. With the negotiation period opening shortly after the Giants won the World Series, Peavy said there also were several teams wanting to “act fast,” but he “wasn’t in any hurry.”
“I had some really nice offers,” Peavy said. “I wasn’t chasing the most money; there were opportunities for that out there and I feel very blessed. But for me and my family, I wanted to be in a situation where I felt, hey, I can win. Anybody who has won, it does nothing but re-energize you.”
Besides, Peavy said, his family warmed quickly to San Francisco. He also factored in how the Giants treated him and his family the day they traded for him.
Peavy said his wife and three sons had just flown into Tampa, Fla., where the Red Sox were playing, to meet Peavy – the first time he’d seen his sons in almost three weeks. They were eating together when he received a call from the Giants, who needed him in San Francisco to pitch the next day.
“The Giants didn’t hesitate. They put my whole family on a flight, and they were able to be there that first night,” Peavy said. “It was something that was very meaningful and held a whole lot of weight when you’re thinking about where you’re going to play the next few years.”