Updated: July 24, 2013 11:39PM
Right-hander Jake Peavy makes it pretty clear he wouldn’t mind being traded to a contender. That’s how badly he wants to win.
Peavy, who will try to prevent the White Sox — who lost to the Tigers 6-2 on Wednesday — from suffering a four-game sweep when he pitches against Justin Verlander on Thursday afternoon, also said it’s not far-fetched to think the Sox “can win the division next year.’’
You heard that right. Peavy said this the same day the Sox (39-59) fell to 20 games below .500 for the first time since September 2007. A student and fan of the game, Peavy probably knows the Sox finished 89-74 and won the American League Central the next year.
“I don’t think it’s a stretch at all,’’ Peavy said. “We basically had the same bunch of guys from last year to this year. If we evaluate some things and add a piece here or there and maybe change the atmosphere, create a more positive atmosphere. …’’
Such an atmosphere results from winning, “which is hard to come by when you’re in such a rut and things snowball,’’ Peavy said. “Everything in baseball is contagious. We got off to such a bad start and never got that spark or play or game to get us going in the right direction. I don’t think it’s a stretch at all to think this team can be in a position to compete and win the division next year.’’
Whether Peavy, who’s under contract through 2014, is part of next year on the South Side could be determined in the next week. Scouts will watch closely to see how he throws in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a broken rib. While some see it as a foregone conclusion that he’ll be traded, general manager Rick Hahn is under no pressure to deal him now. If he doesn’t get excellent value in return, Hahn likely will wait till the offseason to explore the trade market. Or perhaps keep him into next season.
“I’m pretty abreast of what’s going on, and Rick does an incredible job of staying in contact with us,’’ said Peavy, who is said to be wanted by the Red Sox, Cardinals, Athletics and probably more. “Just being professional, letting us know kind of how things stand. If something does happen, I’m not going to be caught off-guard by it.
“If you get moved now, you’re going to a contender. If I got moved in the winter, you’d be going to a team that was hoping to upgrade and be a contender. I’ve said I want to be on a winning team. I’ve said I hope that’s here. If I get moved, I hope it’s to a team that’s in the thick of things. That’s all you can ask for.’’
The Sox and starter John Danks were never in the thick of Wednesday’s loss, their 35th in the last 50 games since they were 24-24 on May 26. Prince Fielder’s three-run blast in the first inning was the first of three Detroit homers, and the Sox failed to score a runner from third with no outs in the first and one out in the fifth.
It has been that kind of year.
‘‘It’s been discouraging,’’ Peavy said. “It’s hard not to give in and chalk the season up. But as a team and as team leaders, you make sure you come to the park ready to work. It’s our responsibility to our teammates, the coaching staff, the front office and the game of baseball.’’