Does Peralta Trade Change Tigers Infield Plans For 2011?

Douglas Delecki JrContributor IAugust 1, 2010

BOSTON - AUGUST 01:  Jhonny Peralta #27 of the Detroit Tigers hits an RBI single as Victor Martinez #41 of the Boston Red Sox defends on August 1, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The Red Sox defeated the Tigers 4-3.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

So I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about this, but what does the Jhonny  Peralta trade mean for the future of your Detroit Tigers? Let’s take a little time to analyze the positives and negatives of the deal, as well as looking into what it means for the future of the Tigers.

The Tigers are currently trotting out between 5 and 7 rookies per game, so they desperately needed a professional player, and Peralta is that. Further, only giving up a class A pitcher with an injury history (Soto) makes this a fairly safe investment for the Detroit nine.

Peralta is also signed through next season (7 million), which makes him more than just a rental player. Even better, there is a buyout clause in Peralta’s contract if he doesn’t work out. Unfortunately that is about the end of the positives for Mr. Peralta.

Peralta is a below average fielder at short and third, generally hits for little power and a slightly mediocre batting average. In eight seasons Peralta has authored a line of.264, 105 and 459 rbi. That average out to less than 12 homers and 60 rbi per year. These are highly unimpressive numbers, showing a purely average major leaguer.

Further, with a weak free agent class, does Peralta fill the shortstop void next season? Does he take over for  Brandon Inge at third?  Inge, while statistically a worse hitter (.238, 129, 534 in ten seasons), is a far superior defender. Inge hits with slightly more power, and seems to improved his offense in recent years, while Peralta has regressed from his peak years.  

Peralta is 5 years younger than Inge, but will not return to the Tigers for 7 million. Either player will have to take a pay cut to stay with the team beyond 2010. Unless you believe Reyes will leave the Mets, this is an exceptionally weak  year for middle infield help. Neither are great hitters so only one will return.

The guess here is Inge, as he will most likely take a hometown discount to stay with the Tigers. As far as the shortstop position goes, I personally believe that Stephen Drew will sign with Detroit. Even though Drew is not much of an upgrade either he is a Scott Boras client, and the whole world knows how much Detroit loves Boras clients. In this case, I personally would be inclined to stick with Danny Worth.

As things stand, the Tigers need a starting pitcher, second baseman (Guillen truly needs to be a dh at this point in his career), corner outfielder, and third baseman (if Inge doesn’t resign). Shortstop is far down on the list of needs for Detroit as this time, even with some 60 million coming off the payroll.  While I would stay away from shortstops at this time, I fear Dave Dombrowski will go the Forrest Gump route on this one. After all, stupid is as stupid does.