SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy can still remember Jake Peavy's Major League debut, more than 12 years later. Bochy's Padres lost that game, 1-0 to the Yankees in June 2002. The final score wasn't what they'd hoped for, but that summer day at the park sparked what grew to become a special relationship between the two as they spent the next 4 1/2 seasons together in San Diego.
Peavy, acquired by the Giants in a three-player trade with the Red Sox on Saturday, was reunited with Bochy in his favorite manager's office shortly after the Giants' 5-0 loss to the Dodgers later that night.
What struck the Alabama native from the meeting? Bullwinkle, the massive decorative elk that hangs in Bochy's office.
"What a redneck, huh?" Peavy said. "He can't accuse me of being a redneck."
Redneck wasn't how Bochy described his team's newest addition. Passionate? Fiery? Ultra-competitive? Yes. And Peavy added to the bromance.
"Bochy is my guy," Peavy said. "He raised me in the game; I was 20-years-old and as green as any grapes as you've ever seen on a vine. He took care of me, taught me how to be a professional and taught me how to get my work done. He's a guy I dearly love, so I'm excited as ever to be reunited with him."
The Bay Area's newest resident endured a bittersweet Saturday -- he said he'd never been closer with teammates than he was with roughly a dozen of his fellow Red Sox -- and will be thrown into the proverbial fire on Sunday, when he makes his Giants debut.
With first place in the National League West at stake. Under the lights of a nationally televised broadcast. Against the rival Dodgers, who are going for the sweep.
No pressure, Jake.
"This is what I showed up to do at the beginning of the year: to try and win a World Series, and this team certainly knows how to get that done," Peavy said. "It starts with getting in and trying to win your division. To be thrown right into the middle of that, as I was last year, it's exciting for me."
For Bochy, part of the excitement lies in getting to watch Peavy compete once every five games.
"I've always admired how he plays the game. He's all-out, full-bore in everything he does. He's a guy you want on your club," Bochy said of Peavy, whose nickname is, appropriately, Bulldog. "He's as tough of a competitor as any player I've ever had; these guys are going to love him and his approach to the game.
"I'm excited about having Jake here and I know he's excited about coming back to the National League and this division."
The NL West was the backdrop to Peavy's best Major League years. He was 86-62 in seven-plus season with the Padres, won the 2007 NL Cy Young Award and had a sub-3.00 ERA in four seasons.
Peavy has been in the American League since his midseason trade to the White Sox in 2009. The hope is he'll benefit from a reunion with Bochy and a return to the designated-hitterless NL West. Throwing in pitcher-friendly home park shouldn't hurt, either.
Peavy is 8-5 with a 3.90 ERA in 14 career starts at AT&T Park. He's allowed seven home runs in 87 2/3 innings on the shores of McCovey Cove.
Peavy doesn't throw as hard as he used to his (his fastball tops out in the low-90s), but the intensity that's come to define him persists, though the on-field results have plummeted this season. He was 1-9 with a 4.72 ERA in 20 starts for the Red Sox, and also led the AL with 20 home runs allowed. His 1.43 WHIP is the highest of his career and his 2.17 strikeout/walk ratio is the lowest since 2003.
Sabean is well aware of the sub-par statistics, but eight different Giants scouts who'd watched eight different Peavy starts recommended he trade for Peavy as a No. 4 starter. Combine that with a strong recommendation from Bochy and increasing doubts over Matt Cain's status for the rest of the season, and Sabean felt he couldn't delay in pulling the trigger.
"We were fortunate in the timing. Everybody knows that we're not in a good [standing] roster-wise, especially this series, missing Belt, Pagan and Cain," Sabean said. "I thought it was important to execute a trade at this time."
The Red Sox agreeing to pay half of Peavy's remaining 2014 salary (approximately $5 million) also helped accelerate discussions. In return, the Red Sox will receive left-handed starter Edwin Escobar and right-handed reliever Heath Hembree in the deal. MLB.com ranks Escobar and Hembree as the second- and 11th-best prospects in the Giants' Minor League system, respectively.
Sabean said he sees each thrower as a Major League pitcher, but they had slid in the organization's internal rankings, as evidenced by both getting passed up for George Kontos and Yusmeiro Petit when injuries to Cain, Tim Hudson and Santiago Casilla created opportunities. So, both were left off Sabean's "no-trade" list.
Peavy is the addition the Giants hope will lead to finishing ahead of the Dodgers in their pennant chase. His career records against his new archrivals aren't too shabby: 14-2 with a 2.21 ERA in 25 career starts against Los Angeles. He's limited the Dodgers' current roster to a combined .177 average with four home runs and 12 RBIs in 113 at-bats.
If Peavy is able to continue that Dodger Blue dominance, plenty more happy memories for pitcher and manager are soon to be created.
Ryan Hood is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Chris Haft contributed to this report. Read his blog, Haft-Baked Ideas, and follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less