After introducing new manager Brad Ausmus to the press on Sunday, Detroit Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told reporters that the club will not make any qualifying offers to players eligible for free agency, including All Star shortstop Jhonny Peralta. It means that any team can now pursue Peralta without worrying about draft pick compensation.
Although Peralta had a very solid season in 2013, the Tigers have made it clear that Jose Iglesias is their shortstop of the future, and despite a strong postseason performance it wasn’t enough for Dombrowski to consider bringing the veteran Peralta back.
Peralta, 32, was the second most productive player in the Tigers lineup prior to his 50 game suspension for violating major league baseball’s joint drug agreement. He batted .303/.358/457 this season and his strong first half earned him a spot on the All Star team.
His 3.6 WAR still ranked second among Tigers position players – right behind Miguel Cabrera - and before serving out his suspension, he led all American League shortstops in WAR. An average season for Peralta would like .290 with 35 doubles, 15 home runs, 80 runs, and 80 RBIs.
MLB Trade Rumors predicted yesterday that Peralta will likely manage a three-year deal in the $30 million dollar range, given the limited market at his position. They list the Cardinals as the favorite to land him and believe that the Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, and Pirates could all have some interest as well.
I prefer Peralta to a Stephen Drew or Yunel Escobar, but I count at least three highly-motivated, big spending teams in the market for him and he’ll probably go to the one that’s willing to overpay the most while also offering a good shot at the postseason.