Do you know who started last night at second base for the Detroit Tigers? How about third? Shortstop? The answers to those questions (in order) are: Will Rhymes, Scott Sizemore, and Ramon Santiago. The answer to one of those questions starting soon will be Jhonny Peralta as the Tigers have acquired him from the Cleveland Indians for lefty pitcher Giovanni Soto.
Peralta is due less than $2 million the rest of the season and has a $7 million club option for next season with a quarter of a million dollar buyout. Cleveland moved the 28 year old to third base in 2009 and used him there exclusively this season. He will ostensibly remain there for a lack of options, such as returning to shortstop; if the proof is in the pudding then Peralta has devoured any evidence that he can still handle the six-hole.
The bigger concern for Detroit will be how his bat plays. Between 2005 and 2008, Peralta recorded one season of below average offensive production. He has yet to top a .310 wOBA in the season and a half since. The most glaring concern with Peralta’s offensive game is his increased reliance upon flyballs. You know how this goes by now, but a refresher on the rule of thumb is that more flyballs lead to more home runs while also leading to a lower BABIP. The opposite is true for the formerly groundball heavy Peralta.
ZiPS projects Peralta to post a .323 wOBA from here on out. That projection may seem optimistic but should prove to be an improvement over Scott Sizemore or Don Kelly. Or at least an option with a presumed lower standard deviation between ceiling and floor. Nobody will confuse risk minimization as a sexy science anytime soon; sometimes it’s just a necessary for teams hoping to stay in the race.
The most humorous aspect of this deal is how Detroit continued talking down the idea of a short-term rental only to turn around and (presumably) grab a short-term rental. It is hard to see them paying Peralta $7 million next season unless he really knocks their socks off.
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