The Jhonny Peralta Trade: Detroit’s Perspective

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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28 Responses to “The Jhonny Peralta Trade: Detroit’s Perspective”

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  1. Cronus says:

    They’re getting some sort of cash consideration for taking on this contract so let’s see how much they’re getting back before we provide serious commentary for this trade.

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  2. Mike says:

    I think the Tigers have said they won’t be trading any of their valuable prospects away for a rental player, rather than saying they wouldn’t be trading for rental players in any way, shape or form. I don’t think Soto qualifies as a valuable prospect, even though he looks to be having a nice start to his career.

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  3. madvillian says:

    I posted my thoughts over in a blurb at South Side Sox but I will go ahead and repeat them here: this is a curious move for the Tigers even though it rids them of one replacement level infielder it hardly improves their club.

    Soto has a poor shot to ever even make a MLB roster, but the Tigers shouldn’t be trading away prospects for guys whose best case scenario is a 2 WAR player.

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  4. madvillian says:

    …at least not if that guy is an aging rental. Although I guess it’s possible he impresses, they buy him out and work on a new deal. They do need help all over the infield going forward.

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    • Mike says:

      Not sure I understand this point. It’s a deal that, in all likelihood, will end up meaning nothing at the end of the day to either team, with Cleveland saving some cash. I would say the chances that Peralta gets hot and gives them something of value that would be good enough to make it mean something are about as good as Soto’s chances of making them regret dealing him.

      For that reason, it’s a low-risk/low reward deal that for a team that’s trying that’s almost certainly done. Don’t really see the harm in doing it. It’s kind of pointless, but I don’t think it’s something they have to avoid either.

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      • madvillian says:

        the opportunity cost of taking on his salary and trading away a prospect is why you don’t make “a deal just for the sake of making a deal”.

        regardless, I do agree that this trade is mostly meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

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      • Mike says:

        Cleveland is picking up $1.8 million, so I don’t think the salary means anything. At that point, you’re dealing for a hopeful short-term boost for a hopeful long-term prospect. We agree that it’s meaningless, though. I just saw the $1.8 million thing, so I thought I’d bring it up.

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      • Matt says:

        The Indians will be picking up most of Peralta’s remaining contract. The Tigers are basically on the hook for the team option for next year (per Buster Olney). That’s either $7 million or a $250,000 buyout, so there’s no real financial risk to the Tigers.

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      • Mike says:

        I read it wrong, and Matt is correct that Cleveland is picking up most of his salary, not all of it, according to the report.

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  5. Eric says:

    Soto is a 19-year-old lefty with a healthy 76/25 K/BB in 82 2/3 innings at Class A West Michigan. I’m no expert on how he projects as a major leaguer (if he projects at all) but why you’d give away a guy with any upside whatsoever for a decomposing dinosaur like Jhonny Freakin’ Peralta is absolutely beyond me. The Tigers have more holes than Al Pacino at the end of Scarface. Jhonny’s 0.2 WAR the rest of the way should push this team into the playoffs. Take Cabrera and Verlander away from the Tigers organization and they’re the Astros. What a joke.

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    • Chris Brown says:

      Soto knows how to pitch, but his stuff is lacking, and he doesn’t throw harder than 85mph. I don’t know what they were thinking with the deal, but they’re fielding a roster full of AAA players right now, so even a bad major leaguer is an upgrade.

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    • Jeff says:

      But they do have Cabrera and Verlander… and Jackson, and Scherzer, Porcello, Boesch, Jacob Turner, Oliver, ect…

      so they are much more than the Astros..

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      • PJ says:

        Really, before all the injuries we were contending for the division lead. Now 2 weeks later we are the Astros? C’mon son!

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    • No says:

      Not that much upside. That league always favors lefties and inflates their stats. The WM home ballpark is enormous and helps the pitchers even more.

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  6. Jeff says:

    Firstly, the Tigers said they werent going to give up their top prospects, i.e. Turner and Oliver, for a rental. Soto has nice numbers, but is small, and barley throws 85mph.

    2ND, this move wasnt made to push the Tigers into the post season. It was made so the Tigers could send their prospects back down to AAA where they belong, and give them time to develop.

    3rd, The Indians are sending $$$ with Peralta, so they didnt add payroll.

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  7. Tigerdog says:

    Actually, Dombrowski said that the Tigers were not going to give up a “premium prospect” for a rental player. They didn’t. Although Soto is only 19, he isn’t a premium prospect. Jacob Turner, Andy Oliver, and arguably nobody else are blue chippers in the Tiger organization. Those guys should be available only for a player that will be around for another season or two.

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    • Jeff says:

      Hey Tigerdog… are you the same Tigerdog from blessyouboys?? if so I am jpolut…

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    • 13194013 says:

      I’ll be able to weigh the whole trade in a few days, after my malaise subsides.

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    • STEALTH says:

      and to add to Tigerdog… the Tigers’ situation changed since they were supposedly bemoaning giving up prospects for a rental. Inge went down, so they went and got the cheapest of rentals. It makes complete sense to me…

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  8. tdotsports1 says:

    I wonder what the asking price for J.Bautista is?

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  9. jklender says:

    The sad part is he’ll probably be batting second or third in the lineup for the next few weeks. But hey, that’s what it has come to. He’s about as cheap of a stop-gap as they could have hoped to find right away. Either that or he’ll quickly become a DFA candidate.

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  10. Daern says:

    My first reaction to this trade was “How the f@#k did the Indians get the Cubs’ catcher?”

    Then I realized it was with an “I”, not an “E”.

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  11. PJ says:

    Ahem. The correct quote is that Dombrowski wasn’t going to trade Jacob Turner or Andy Oliver for a rental. Trading Soto, while hurts in the long run (3 or so years from now) is not the same caliber as either of the pitchers mentioned earlier.

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  12. Bascinator says:

    As an Indians fan, even if Soto never makes the majors, this is still a good trade for the tribe. Peralta has no future in Cleveland (no way they were picking up his $7 million option for next season for a guy barely above replacement level). They need to figure out who their 3B is in 2011; this will give them an opportunity to look at Jared Goedert at 3B, who has a .297/.376/.654 line at AAA Columbus. They’re better off rolling the dice with a minimum salary guy at third than Peralta. Trust me, most Indians fans are happy to see him go.

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  13. Bascinator says:

    Yes, Chisenhall is, but he probably won’t be ready until 2012.

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  14. Dwight S. says:

    I think it’s a good move for both clubs. Peralta may not provide much value on the field for the Tigers but atleast it helps in the P.R. department, he is a relatively known name so it shows fans that the Tigers aren’t throwing in the towel just yet which may help them sell some more tickets. Plus as Keith Law pointed out, his contract is coming up at the end of the year so he may show even more motivation to produce so the Tigers could catch lightning in the bottle. Obviously not enough to make a difference in the standings but even if it helps them stay in striking distance for another couple weeks that’s two more weeks of buzz around the ballpark and revenue for the Tigers. I think giving up a low A prospect that isn’t ranked that highly is worth that.

    As far as the Indians go they weren’t going anywhere with Peralta anyway so atleast this clears up a spot on their team and gives them another arm in their system even if he isn’t perceived as a top prospect. It’s better than nothing.

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  15. Kudos for creating content is on this particular subject. There is not a great deal of information published about it (not particularly helpful anyway). It is nice to see it receiving some more coverage. Cheers!

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