Story written by guest writer Sarah Rowe Holmes, of StonesDetroit.com
With the 2012 season winding down, I am beginning to hear a lot of trade chatter. From coffee shops to social networks, everyone has an opinion. One of the most discussed players is Detroit Tigers’ Jhonny Peralta. His lack of range and diminishing batting average have put him in fans’ sights. To many, it seems to be an obvious decision, but I’m not so sure.
The upcoming free agents aren’t anything to get too excited about. When you do a side by side comparison, Peralta tops the free agent list. For all of you sabermetric junkies I will throw some numbers your way. Marco Scutaro and Stephen Drew (if he chooses free agency) are at the top of the free agent list for shortstops. Fangraphs has Marco Scutaro listed with an OPS (On Base Plus Slugging Percentage) of .751, a UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) of -4.5, and a WAR value (Wins Above Replacement) of 2.3. Stephen Drew is listed with an .680 OPS, a UZR of -4.2, and a WAR value of 0.4.
Jhonny Peralta leads both in all but one category. He sports an OPS of .687, a 10.5 UZR, and he has a WAR value of 2.6. It could also be argued that Scutaro is primarily a second baseman now and Stephen Drew is injury prone having been out for eleven months due to an ankle injury.
The further down the free agent list you go the better Peralta looks.
There has been speculation that with the Texas Rangers having one of baseball’s top prospects, 19 year old shortstop Jurickson Profar, there’s a real possibility that they will trade Elvis Andrus before his contract expires. Don’t hold your breath for Andrus to sport the Olde English ‘D’ any time soon. With Mike Ilitch spending more than $130 million for 2012’s lineup, it seems highly unlikely that he will go any deeper into his pockets and Andrus would require some serious digging. I don’t expect any other Prince Fielder type surprises.
Peralta’s definitely not a superstar in the defense department. He lacks range. However, his .990 Field Percentage is evidence enough he can be counted on to make the routine plays. Additionally, he has only accrued six errors in a full-time role with the Tigers. Offensively, he’s slightly above average for the shortstop position. He provides slight power (12 homeruns, 62 runs batted in) and hits for a meager .240 batting average.
The bottom line: with a six-million dollar club option, Peralta is quite possibly the biggest bang for your buck in free agent pool that is sorely lacking.