CHICAGO - Jake Peavy finally agreed to pitch for the White Sox.
The San Diego Padres traded their ace to Chicago on Friday, barely beating the deadline to make deals without waivers.
The Padres got four young pitchers for the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner — Clayton Richard, Aaron Poreda, Dexter Carter and Adam Russell.
In May, the Padres and White Sox agreed to a deal for Peavy, but he turned it down. This time, Peavy agreed to waive his no-trade clause and join the AL Central contenders.
“The ultimate decision was when the team you’re playing for actively keeps telling you they need to move you, and one team comes after you like Chicago did, you’re excited to play for a team where you know you’re wanted,” Peavy said during a news conference in San Diego.
“In May, we didn’t think it was the right time, but now things are a little bit different on a lot of fronts. ... I think the only reason this deal was able to get done is because they did pursue it actively in May. In May, we had just won five or six games in a row and had creeped above .500, and Chicago wasn’t really in the shape that they’re in now.”
The White Sox began play Friday in third place in the AL Central, 2½ games behind first-place Detroit.
White Sox general manager Ken Williams was not discouraged by the initial rejection from Peavy.
“He never said no, he just said ’not yet,”’ Williams said.
“So those words ‘not yet’ for me meant just that. ... If you are patient in your pursuit, then sometimes you can ultimately get what you want,” he said. “When we called back this time, he was better prepared — he and his family were better prepared for what lies ahead. We were all able to make it work.”
The 28-year-old Peavy is 6-6 with a 3.97 ERA in 13 starts with the Padres this season but has been on the disabled list since June 13 with a strained tendon in his right ankle. Williams said the White Sox don’t expect Peavy to pitch until the end of August and he could go on a rehab assignment in the middle of the month.
“We’re going to still be conservative with our approach. In our division this thing is going to go down to winning games in September,” Williams said. “We want to be as strong as we possibly can in September. That’s what we’re focused on.”
Over eight major league seasons with the Padres, Peavy is 92-68 with a 3.29 ERA and 1,348 strikeouts in 212 starts. He was a unanimous selection for the Cy Young Award in 2007 when he went 19-6 with a 2.54 ERA and 240 strikeouts in 34 starts.
He will give the White Sox a top starter along with lefty Mark Buehrle, who pitched a perfect game in July. When he is healthy, Peavy will join a rotation that includes Gavin Floyd, John Danks and Jose Contreras.
Until then the White Sox will have to mix and match to find a fifth starter with Bartolo Colon injured and Richard off to San Diego.
Williams said he called Padres general manager Kevin Towers on Friday morning and got talks rekindled. Peavy’s agent, Barry Axelrod, went to Peavy’s house and Williams said the deal was completed mere seconds before the 3 p.m. CDT deadline.
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