Reading Between The Headlines:
The Real Cost Of The Jhonny Peralta PED Scandal
When the news broke in the first half of the season that a new PED Scandal would ravage baseball, Tigers fans were confident none of their players would be involved. Or at least they hoped they wouldn’t be.
Then Tigers fans fears were realized when Peralta’s name was leaked as one of those listed on documentation from the shuttered Biogenesis clinic in Miami Florida.
Peralta staunchly denied the allegation only to later accept responsibility and a 50 game suspension from MLB.
The Jhonny Peralta PED Scandal and subsequent suspension left a gaping hole in the middle infield defense and a crater in the Detroit Tigers line-up.
Dave Dombrowski filled one of the needs at the trade deadline by getting involved in a three team trade that landed the Tigers rookie of the year candidate Jose Iglesias. Iglesias brought with him elite defensive skills and speed but without the power the Tigers were missing at the 6th spot in the line-up.
Dombrowski was widely praised for the trade that brought the Detroit Tigers their shortstop of the future.
But it came at a price.
A big price.
The Tigers had to send prized prospect Avisail Garcia to the division rival Whitesox for their part of the three team deal. Garcia had a great finish to the 2013 season and will most likely be patrolling the outfield for the pale hose next season.
Why was Garcia such a high price to pay? Two reasons.
1. Avisail Garcia gives the Whitesox a young power hitting outfielder with tremendous upside. A serious middle of the order hitter they can build a line-up around. And all for an aging pitcher (Jake Peavy) who was not likely to return to Chicago after the 2013 season. This is especially damaging to the Tigers who, by trading Garcia, helped improve a division rival and hasten the Whitesox rebusilding process.
2. The Detroit Tigers now have a hole to fill in left field. A need they would not have to fill had Avisail Garcia remained with the team. Garcia’s salary was $490,000 and under club control until at least 2016. Garcia would have been an excellent answer to the Tigers left field question in 2014 and at a good price. Now the Tigers may be forced to trade a major piece in order to afford a free agent power hitting left fielder.
The real cost of the Jhonny Perlata PED Scandal may be Max Scherzer.
Scherzer is the odds on favorite to win the 2013 American League Cy Young award. Scherzer is Arbitration eligible this season and will likely see his salary increase to near 14 million dollars this season. In order to make room on the payroll for a free agent solution in left field, the Tigers may have no choice but to trade the Cy Young award candidate this offseason when his value is highest. A trade that may not be necessary if Avisail Garcia was still with the team.
For his part Jhonny Peralta returned to the Tigers in time for the playoffs and performed admirably. He was one of the Tigers best hitters in the playoffs all while learning a new position.
Now Peralta will leave a free agent after rebuilding his career with his 2013 playoff peformance.
The Tigers will go on without him but without one of the home grown prospects they counted on to cheaply fill holes made by free agent departures.
And most likely without the 2013 Cy Young Award winner.