Jul 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta (27) hits a single in the second inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Detroit Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski was unwilling to flat-out say that Jhonny Peralta was going to be included in the playoff roster, but, reading between the lines a little bit, he basically said that the only way he won’t be on the roster is if he looks completely horrible in the season finale in Miami.
"“I think think he gives us a shot in the arm and gives us a guy we think can play left field, at least some, and be in a position to give us another good bat.”[snip]At one point, Dombrowski was asked whether a three-day tryout could have an effect on playoff roster decisions.“Could it affect it?” he said. “I guess it could affect it. I don’t anticipate it affecting it, but if things didn’t look good at all, it could affect it. I’m being told that I really shouldn’t be concerned about that”"
Dombrowski claims they “haven’t had those discussions” on the postseason roster, but this certainly makes it seem like they’re penciling Jhonny’s name in.
It’s been evident now for a couple of weeks that the Tigers were going to give the left field thing a real shot, but I was skeptical when those rumors started flying around. I just didn’t expect that the team would try to convert an infielder to the outfield in the middle of a suspension with minimal game time to prepare before the playoffs. That being said, the Tigers deserve credit for being willing to try it out.
One would assume that Jhonny Peralta’s play in left field would be limited to platoon duty – he’s probably not displacing Andy Dirks versus right-handed pitchers – which could limit his role in the ALDS. It looks very much like the Oakland Athletics will be the first round opponent, but, like the Tigers, they don’t have a single left-handed pitcher in their starting rotation. That probably means Jhonny will be relegated to pinch hitting duty for the Division Series.
With Peralta’s spot all but assured, we’re left with one final spot to be handed out to Matt Tuiasosopo, Hernan Perez, or Nick Castellanos. Peralta’s ability to play left field (and swing a right-handed bat) marginalizes the potential contributions of Tuiasosopo and Castellanos, so perhaps Perez gets the nod as a pinch running option. For me, I’d rather have the extra bat – and I think that’s Castellanos – but we’re probably splitting hairs and talking about a roster spot that isn’t going to contribute much.