The Tigers made official what we suspected: They would decline the $7.25 million option Jhonny Peralta had on his contract for 2011.
Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski said, in a statement on Twitter:
"We remain optimistic that a deal can be worked out between Jhonny and the club."
At MLB.com, Jason Beck wrote one of Peralta's agent is also optimistic a deal can be worked out.
Detroit has an exclusive negotiating window through Saturday. Then other teams can start throwing figures at Peralta, too, in this first year of the accelerated free agent filing period.
As I've written in the past, it's kind of a no-win year to be looking for a shortstop. Peralta is among the best available this offseason, but he has a low batting average and is not that good in the field. You could attempt to acquire someone via a trade, but there's never any guarantee there either and shortstops come at a premium price. Despite some gaudy RBI numbers--RBIs tell you nothing more than the fact the players in front of him were good at getting into scoring position, by the way-- Peralta might not be all that better of a choice than some internal candidates. Alas, he is a veteran major leaguer, and that gives you some level of confidence, I guess.
I think, in all likelihood, Peralta will sign a two-year extension with the Tigers within the next few days. Some wonder if they'll find an incentive-laden contract, but that hasn't really been the Tigers' MO so I don't expect it to happen. This move certainly isn't my favorite of the offseason, but in the past weeks I've come to accept it's the best of several bad choices.
Let's get it done and move on to the fun stuff.