By Daniel I. Dorfman–
There is something annoying and frustrating when reality sets in, but that is why it is called reality and not fantasy. If we lived in a world of fantasy, it would be 82 and sunny every day, gas would be less than $2 a gallon and people could recover from serious injuries without any hitches.
Well, none of those things do occur and yesterday’s news on Jake Peavy only reinforces reality can be ugly some days. What was also reinforced is counting on Peavy in 2011 to make any type of serious contribution to the Sox is a little like dreaming of a big check arriving for no apparent reason. Fun to think about, but probably not going to happen.
The accounts from Glendale say Peavy has rotator cuff tendonitis, not related to the surgery he had to reattach his latissimus dorsi muscle. I’m not a doctor but I find that to be a little strange. If nothing else, Peavy seems guilty of pushing his body way too far. This is same Peavy who lobbied the Sox to pitch last June after shoulder problems popped up and less than three weeks later he suffered the muscle tear. This spring Peavy has had various ailments but once again convinced team officials to let him go out to the mound and history once again repeated itself So it was a relief when manager Ozzie Guillen said yesterday – albeit belatedly – that he will decide when Peavy pitches again.
At this point even if Peavy could be deemed healthy enough to pitch again, the idea he can maintain his spot in the rotation on a consistent basis appears far-fetched at best. Since winning the NL Cy Young Award in 2007, Peavy, 29, has been on the disabled list every year since. As he gets older, it is really hard to believe that he will return to his pre-injury form. For Chicago sports fans, the sagas of Mark Prior and Jim McMahon might be coming back to mind.
White Sox nation must now reconcile Peavy might very well turn out to be one of the biggest flops in the Kenny Williams reign as general manager. The sad fact is he is still owed $33 million over the next two seasons after getting $15 million in 2010. Meanwhile in San Diego, the pitcher Peavy was traded for – Clayton Richard – has emerged as a pretty solid starter for the Padres. Every GM is going to have moves that blow up in his face, but with the White Sox always concerned with payroll, this is emerging as a very expensive slip up. The irony of the situation is immense considering the Sox reluctance to make long-term investments into pitchers and in one of the rare cases they do that, it turns out like this.
As for the how this will affect the 2011 Sox, this injury should not have the devastating consequences of Robin Ventura breaking his ankle in 1997 or Frank Thomas going down in 2001. Those injuries ripped the heart of their clubs. Peavy’s injury should just be seen as bump in the road. A rotation of Mark Buehrle, John Danks, Gavin Floyd and Edwin Jackson can still be formidable. While the Sox only have two scheduled off days in April, yet with the exception of four games inside Tampa’s Tropicana Field, the rest of their games until May 4 are in northern climates, making the possibility of some rainouts fairly likely. So how much they will need a fifth starter in the first few weeks remains to be seen. At the same time the Twins and the Tigers have their own problems so it is hard to see any of these teams running away and hiding.
As for Peavy, maybe he can come back and win 10-12 games this year. Anything is possible. Just don’t count on it.
Do you agree with Daniel? Post your comments below.
Daniel I. Dorfman is a local freelance writer who has written and reported for the New York Times, Philadelphia Inquirer and the Boston Globe among many other nationally prominent broadcast, online and print media organizations. He is also a researcher for 670 The Score. You can follow him on Twitter @DanDorfman To read more of Daniel’s blogs click here.