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Fantasy Baseball Today

Can move to San Francisco save Jake Peavy?

By Chris Towers | CBSSports.com

Will a move to San Francisco make Jake Peavy relevant again? (USATSI)
Will a move to San Francisco make Jake Peavy relevant again? (USATSI)

The Giants rotation has had some unexpected struggles this season, but they made a move to bolster it Saturday by acquiring veteran pitcher Jake Peavy in a three-player trade from the Red Sox.

The Giants are undoubtedly familiar with Peavy, who dominated the NL West back when he was with the Padres. Manager Bruce Bochy knows Peavy especially well, as he managed the Padres during the first five seasons of Peavy's career. Of course, the Giants know they aren't trading for the version of Peavy that was a perennial Cy Young contender and among the most dominant pitchers in the league. So what kind of pitcher are they getting?

At 33 and with a history of injuries in his past, it is no surprise that Peavy is no longer one of the league's best pitchers. He can no longer blow batters away, and his swinging-strike rate has held steady between 8.7 and 9.3 percent in three of the last four seasons. It is hard to see him taking a big step forward in that regard just because he is changing home address, so we have to look elsewhere for places Peavy might find some natural improvement. .

Peavy is struggling through arguably the worst season of his career, posting a 4.72 ERA with just one win for the Red Sox on the season. Though his walk and strikeout rates have regressed a bit from last season, the biggest issue for him has been the trouble he has had keeping the ball in the park; he has the fourth-worst HR/9 in the league among starters.

The move to San Francisco should help Peavy in at least this regard, as opposing batters have hit just 32 home runs against the Giants in AT&T Park. The Giants' home park suppresses home runs well, as only 5.8 percent of all flyballs leave the yard; compared to 8.0 percent at Fenway, Peavy's old home.

The Giants have had success with similar buy-low candidates in recent years, and we have watched pitchers like Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelsong and Tim Hudson consistently outperform their peripherals while spending half of their games at AT&T Park. The fact that this rates out as one of the best defensive ballclups in the league should only help their efforts to get the most out of Peavy, and should have Fantasy owners at least a little more interested in the veteran than in the recent past.

The move from the American League to the National League should help Peavy's Fantasy value, though he is unlikely to become an elite strikeout pitcher again. However, Peavy is only owned in 44 percent of CBSSports.com leagues right now, so he doesn't even have to become a high-end pitcher again to be worthy of a low-risk addition.

Given how freely available Peavy is, it might be worth rolling the dice on him just to see if the Giants can work some of their magic on him.

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