One of the most sought-after pitchers in baseball won’t be hitting the open market after all.
Four days before teams start bidding on free agents from other teams, the Chicago White Sox announced Tuesday that they signed Jake Peavy to a two-year, $29 million contract extension.
The deal replaces what would have been a $22 million club option for 2013. The White Sox instead will pay him the $4 million buyout on the pre-existing option and will have him for two seasons under the new contract.
Peavy, 31, is coming off a bounce-back season in which he went 11-12 with a 3.37 ERA in 32 starts. He ranked third in the American League with 23 quality starts. Finally healthy after suffering a detached latissimus dorsi muscle behind his right shoulder in 2010, Peavy was one of the biggest reasons the White Sox were surprising contenders in the AL Central.
“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.”
Peavy figures to anchor the team’s 2013 starting rotation, along with left-hander Chris Sale. The White Sox plan for right-hander Gavin Floyd to join them after picking up his 2013 club option worth $9.5 million.
Peavy was 11-12 with a 3.37 ERA in 32 starts this season, which came on the heels of three injury-riddled seasons. The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner helped the White Sox surprise in the AL Central, leading the division for much of the season before finishing second behind Detroit.
The White Sox also declined a $10 million option on right-hander Brett Myers and a $13 million option on third baseman Kevin Youkilis. Myers gets a $3 million buyout, Youkilis $1 million.