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07/31/09 9:15 PM ET

Peavy deal buoyed by playoff chances

GM Williams made moves to keep White Sox in contention

CHICAGO -- Friday's acquisition of Jake Peavy from San Diego in exchange for Clayton Richard and three Minor League hurlers was engineered by White Sox general manager Ken Williams and signed off on by the right-handed hurler himself.

But without the White Sox being in contention for a playoff spot, sitting just 2 1/2 games behind the Tigers in the American League Central entering Friday's action, this deal might never have been revisited from the near-miss on May 21.

"We put ourselves in a position to give [Williams] an opportunity to get [Peavy]," said White Sox ace Mark Buehrle of the Peavy trade, which also included Aaron Poreda moving to San Diego. "If we were out of it, then he would have went the other way and traded some guys out of here."

Buehrle took time to praise Richard, pointing out the Padres were getting "a great guy" and "a star in the making." He also didn't think Peavy's move from spacious and pitcher-friendly PETCO Park to the hitter's paradise of U.S. Cellular Field would affect the right-hander with a career mark of 92-68 and a 3.29 ERA over 212 starts.

Peavy's career splits indicate more than a slight differential between working in and outside of San Diego. His ERA at PETCO stands at 2.83 in 111 starts, while his ERA rises to 3.84 in 101 road starts.

"Obviously, we've seen how good he's done with San Diego his whole career," said Buehrle of Peavy, who has fanned 1,348 in 1,342 2/3 innings. "It seems like he's a sinkerball pitcher anyways. He's a strikeout pitcher, so I don't think there's going to be any problems."

"Jake Peavy's got some of the best stuff in all of baseball," Williams said. "Any team would be happy to have him."

Williams was happy to have traded for upgrades in backup catcher Ramon Castro, right-handed reliever Tony Pena and outfielder/first baseman Mark Kotsay leading to Friday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. But as White Sox reliever and Peavy's friend Scott Linebrink can attest, Friday's stunning move has the potential to make the biggest different in the present -- and definitely in the future -- for the White Sox.

"When he is healthy, he's one of the best in baseball," Linebrink said. "He's a bulldog. He'll go out there, and he wants the ball. He's going to go out there and give you everything he's got.

"I've seen him do some amazing things out there on the mound. He has the ability to strike guys out, go deep in the game and he's a guy that you can kind of build a rotation around."

Peavy's addition was made possible by the White Sox fighting back into contention from six games out as recently as June 26.

"We'd like to be in a better spot than we are, but we're close enough to do some things here," Buehrle said.

"It's all about big steps, not only for this year but for the future," White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said.

Scott Merkin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.