Wild American Gooner

When Sports Are More Than Just Sports

Hello, Goodbye – Jake Peavy Departs the Red Sox and David Ospina Signs With Arsenal

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Yesterday saw the first in what surely will be a series of departures in the next few days for the Red Sox. As the losses pile up quickly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Red Sox trade away as many as ten players. If other teams are willing to give up valuable commodities for our players, it would make a lot of sense to look towards the future. And Jake Peavy was the first casualty of the recent slump, getting shipped off to San Francisco for two pretty decent prospects.

The Red Sox got more for Peavy than I expected. The two prospects we got in return, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree, are talented pitchers who are certainly capable of making it to the big leagues. I guess the Giants felt they’ve been underperforming, but they are two of their top pitching prospects so it wasn’t a bad deal for the Sox, who continue to stockpile impressive young arms. Peavy is a much better pitcher than his 1-9 record, but I don’t think many expected a return like this given his struggles.

I gave most of my final thoughts on Peavy after his last start in Toronto (you can read them here), but overall, I think this is a needed change of scenery for the veteran pitcher. While he didn’t make as big an impact in Boston as many hoped when he was acquired last July, he did win a championship. And for that, I consider Peavy’s year here a resounding success. He embraced the team and the city with his whole heart – even buying himself a Duck Boat last winter – and was a huge presence in the clubhouse. He is a fighter on the mound and was it was always fun watching him compete. I wish him the best of luck in San Francisco.

The Red Sox won’t miss Peavy’s lack of production, but they will miss his competitive fire and his clubhouse presence. But with Peavy now gone, expect the next few days to be filled with more goodbyes. Almost everybody we will see go brought us a championship last year, and we should applaud them as they leave. When saying goodbye, think about 2013 rather than 2014.

Moving across the pond, Arsenal today announced their third signing of the summer, bringing in Colombian keeper David Ospina from French side Nice. Despite being only 25 years old, Ospina has a vast amount of experience, having been a starter for his clubs since he turned 17. He has 48 international caps to his name with Colombia, and in South American qualifying for the World Cup, he truly arrived as one of the game’s great keepers with a series of man of the match performances.

Ospina was particularly impressive in Brazil last month at the World Cup, showing himself admirably in Colombia’s run to the quarterfinals. For the most part, he looked an assured pair of hands in the back. His shot-stopping was generally very good, with a couple of key saves in the knockout stage, and he did well to claim crosses throughout the tournament. He also was noticeably quick off his line, with one instance of beating Didier Drogba to a ball on the edge of the box standing out. He seemed to be fond of the punch, as he parried shots and crosses far away from danger quite calmly.

However, despite all that is going for him, I don’t think Ospina will take the number 1 spot from Wojciech Szczesny any time soon. Arsene Wenger says they’ll compete for the job, but Szczesny has too much quality for me to see him losing the spot. But even if Ospina doesn’t earn the starting spot, he will force Szczesny to be at his best throughout the campaign. The Pole is an immensely talented keeper, but his lapses of concentration and perceived overconfidence are worrying at times. Now that he has a quality keeper behind him, one who is even better than Lukasz Fabianski, he’ll have to remain focused at all times. It can only help him to bring in such stiff competition.

It was always going to be difficult to sign a keeper knowing they would likely spend most of their time on the bench, but getting an experienced, but also relatively young, international in Ospina for only a rumored 4 million pounds is a great bit of business. This was yet another well executed transfer this summer, and I have to say, I’m impressed with the way that Arsene Wenger is getting things done in the transfer market. With more arrivals appearing to be close, this could turn out to be an even better summer window for Arsenal.

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