Sunday, November 7, 2010

Tigers Overpay for Utility Infielder

According to Enrique Rojas, Jhonny Peralta and the Detroit Tigers are very close to coming to terms on a new contract:
"Jhonny Peralta and the Detroit Tigers are close to completing an agreement for two years and $11.25 million, according to a source close to the negotiations.
On Tuesday, the Tigers declined a $7 million club option for 2011 that was part of Peralta's contract agreement with the Indians."
Peralta, who doesn't exactly provide Gold Glove quality defense, put up back-to-back below average offensive seasons, and provided only 1.2 and 1.4 WAR in 2009 and 2010 respectively.  In reality, Peralta's shown that he's not a player worthy of receiving 600 plate appearances per season.  It makes perfect sense why the Tigers declined his option.  Why pay a player $7M when he won't provide enough value to justify his contract? 

On this flipside, I understand why the Tigers would be interested in re-signing Peralta to a deal with a lower annual average salary.  While Peralta's glove is below average, it's good enough to play at 2B, 3B, and SS.  A utility infielder with the ability to knock the ball out of the park is a valuable asset. 

That said, I'm baffled as to why the Tigers would think that a two year contract worth $5.5M per season is an appropriate for a player with Peralta's skill set.  Peralta's value is at an all time low.  He's going into this age-29 season coming off of back-to-back seasons where he's slugged below .400.  Had the Tigers been more patient and allowed the market for Peralta to develop, they probably could've signed him to a one year deal worth $2.0-2.5M.  Plus, there are better options in the free agent marketplace for utility infielders.  Juan Uribe, Bill Hall, Jerry Hairston, and Maicer Izturiz will all provide similar levels of value, while commanding lower annual average salaries.

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