It was no secret that the Chicago White Sox were going to decline the $22 million option on Jake Peavy‘s contract. The right hander had figured to draw serious interest from multiple teams on the free agent market. Instead, Peavy won’t get that far.
New ChiSox GM Rick Hahn inked the all-star and former NL Cy Youngwinner to a new two-year, $29 million deal that takes the place of Peavy’s one-year option. Peavy will still get the $4 million buyout he would have been paid had Chicago officially declined the option as well, so the total value is actually more like $33 million.
“I’m really excited to come back to Chicago and build on what we did last year,” Peavy said in a statement issued by the team. “I made no secret of the fact that this is where I want to play. Chicago is a great city with great fans, and I can’t think of a better place to try and win a championship. With the guys we have coming back, I think we have a great opportunity to accomplish some special things.”
It seems like he’s been around forever, but Peavy is still just 31 years old and re-established himself as one of baseball’s better pitchers in 2012 after a long recovery from a detached latissimus dorsi muscle in 2010.
In other moves, Chicago picked up the $9.5 million option on fellow starter Gavin Floyd, while declining options on reliever Brett Myers and third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Myers will get $3 million in a buyout instead of what would have been a $10 salary for next year. Youkilis’ option was for $13 million and he’ll take home a $1 million buyout instead.
The White Sox will attempt to re-sign Youkilis to a lower-salaried deal. After being run out of town in Boston, Youkilis rebounded to post a .771 OPS in a half-season’s worth of games on the Southside. He’ll be 34 before Opening Day, however, and even in hitter-happy US Cellular Field, the days of Youk being a middle-of-the-order power threat are probably gone. He still gets on base at a high rate, can find the gaps with decent regularity, and plays capable defense, however, so a two-year deal with an option would probably work well for both sides.