If Not Jhonny Peralta In 2013, Then Who?


I wrote an article a couple weeks ago in the Free Press stating that I believed the Tigers should pick up Jhonny Peralta‘s option in 2013. Now, judging from the comments in the article, there wasn’t too many Tigers fans out there that are too keen on that idea. I don’t have a problem with that train of thought. I’m no big Peralta fan. What I try not to do, however, is just want to get rid of players, just for the sake of getting rid of them.

September 22, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta (top) collides with Minnesota Twins second baseman Alexi Casilla (bottom) trying to make a play during the fifth inning at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

It seems that’s what a lot of Tigers fans want to do with Peralta. I get it. He is a statuesque SS in the field. Despite what we see with our eyes, his range factors defensively have been a little bit above average according to Fangraphs. That might tell us more about range factors and the issue with them more than anything, but I don’t believe he is as terrible as a bunch of people believe.

There is clearly no in-house candidate to take over the 2013 SS position for the Tigers. If some sort of Ramon Santiago and Danny Worth combination is your option, then I hate to break it to you, you have no option. There is much larger chance that Peralta and his weak bat of 2012 bounces back some, than a guy like Santiago or Worth holding down the spot with any efficiency every day. Besides, I don’t even think Santiago is really a better defender than Peralta anymore.

How about free agency? Well, there is a terrible market for free agents in general, but SS is the one position that looks really disgusting. As I said in the above linked article, if the Tigers decline the option on Peralta, he would become the best SS on the market, and it isn’t even close.

That means any appreciable upgrade is going to have to come from a trade.  I am all for this mode of improving the SS position. However, teams just don’t want to part with young, good, shortstops for nothing. Why? Simply put, they aren’t easy to find. Everyone will want to bring up the Texas situation. They have Elvis Andrus, maybe the best young SS in the game. They also have Jurickson Profar. Maybe the best young prospect in the game, now that Mike Trout and Bryce Harper have graduated out of that status. I think Texas is more likely to find space for those two guys then trade one of them.

I thought about teams in further detail, and came up with one other franchise that has a logjam of infield prospects. The Cincinnati Reds have their fair share as well. Zack Cozart has played pretty well as a rookie in Cincinnati this year, and they have the likes of Didi Gregorious knocking on the door.

But what I really came up with is there just isn’t a lot of teams overflowing with SS prospects, or have young ones they are looking to trade. If a good one comes along, I am all for the Tigers exploring it.

So what say you, good people out there? What’s your solution? If you don’t want to bring Peralta back, who is going to be your shortstop for the Tigers in 2013?

I hope there is some better alternative out there…but I just don’t see it.