Jake Peavy, taking time off for family, debates a midseason return to baseball
It wouldn’t be hard to connect dots: Eduardo Rodriguez lands on the disabled list with an injury, Brian Johnson takes a tumble in a tuneup start in Pawtucket, and suddenly, Jake Peavy, proudly wearing his 2013 Red Sox World Series ring, shows up in Boston.
But while Peavy was indeed in Boston Tuesday (“Boston is a special place to me,” he said), his appearance was unrelated to the state of the Red Sox’ rotation depth.
Instead, Peavy appeared at the Eliot Innovation School as part of his foundation’s efforts to educate students about financial decisions. The cause became an important one to Peavy in 2016, when he found out that he lost $16 million in a fraudulent scheme by a financial adviser.
“Over the last year and a half of my life, financial literacy became a part of my story,” said Peavy. “It’s something I’m passionate about and I’m not sure if it’s getting enough attention as I think it needs if we’re trying to promote healthy society, healthy communities, and educating children to make good life decisions financially.
“I think that’s of the utmost importance. It’s something I wish I had more of.”
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Celebrating our National #FinancialEducation launch in Boston today!! Congratulations to these 40 students for being the first to complete our #FocusForward program! Thank you to everyone who came out to be a part! @everfi @redsox @wallyredsox #boston #worldseries #2013 #financialliteracy
Peavy, who struggled to a 5-9 record and 5.54 ERA with the Giants in 2016, has remained at home so far this year, but not because of an absence of offers to return to the big leagues. Instead, he wanted to remain present for his four sons (ages 16, 13, 8, and 3) in Alabama while going through a divorce and dealing with the aftermath of last year’s investment investigation.
Peavy does plan to pitch in the majors again. His enjoyment with being around his sons — and to coach them — has left him undecided about whether to pursue a return to the big leagues as a free agent this year or to wait until next spring.
“I’m going to play baseball again,” he said. “I can tell you with certainty, without a shadow of a doubt, I will play baseball again. Whether that be this year or next year, I’m still up in the air.
“There are some opportunities to [sign] tomorrow. If that was to happen, I’m grateful for that. But the last year of my life has presented challenges I didn’t foresee coming. It’s something I’ve embraced. It’s been refreshing in a lot of ways.
“I’ve got four boys I haven’t spent a whole lot of time with through these [summer] months. I’ve enjoyed that.
“I’m not 100 percent sure I’m going to commit to going back and playing this year or whether it be just joining up with a team in spring training for 2018, but I can tell you my playing days are not behind me. During this time off, I’ve been able to understand that and know that without a shadow of a doubt.
“It’s been tough at times to turn down some of the opportunities that have been presented, to not say yes. There’s been some opportunities with teams I respect and would love to explore that option, but life has made some decisions for us here of late, and I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Peavy said that he’s been keeping his options open by staying in playing shape and throwing at least one bullpen session of at least 25-30 pitches per week. He expressed mixed feelings about whether he’d prefer to stay at home or try to experience anew his midyear moves to teams that went on to win titles in 2013 (Red Sox) and 2014 (Giants).
“The reason a midseason return is so compelling to me is because of the success I’ve seen happen in that second half of the season, after the trade deadline,” said Peavy, who owns a career record of 152-126 with a 3.63 ERA.
“When I got traded here in 2013, I became a part of something special. Being fresh in the second half, there’s a huge advantage to that.
“There’s something appealing that, the two times I’ve won a World Series, I’ve been traded midseason. There’s something appealing about that to me in my talks with [his agent] about what we’re going to do.”
Peavy said that he’d only be interested in joining a team that appears to have a shot at a title. Even though he’s enjoyed considerably greater success in the NL West — San Diego and San Francisco, where he’s 111-87 with a 3.42 ERA — than the AL — he has a 41-39 record and 4.13 ERA with the Red Sox and White Sox — Peavy said that a suitor’s division and/or ballpark wouldn’t be motivating factors in his decision.
Although Peavy has been keeping up with the Red Sox — both due to his experience with the team and his close friendship with Chris Sale, a teammate with the White Sox from 2010-13 — he said that Boston to this point has not been among the teams that have inquired about his interest.
“I have not talked to the Red Sox. Only a few American League teams,” he said. “But who knows? I would never rule anything out.”