Grand Cards: Johnny with a JH, Jhonny

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Johnny with a JH, Jhonny

You may have heard that the Tigers just acquired veteran Cleveland 3B/SS Jhonny Peralta for minor league pitcher Geovanni Soto.

Thud.

You may also have heard that move fall flat as the heads of Tigers fans collectively hit their hands or desks when the news was announced. Per a tweet by former Bless You Boys head-man Ian Casslebury (@iancass):
Jhonny Peralta to the #Tigers (via @mlbnetwork)? Can I make a "yuck" face on Twitter?
I understand the sentiment. He's a .264 career hitter, batting only .246 this year and mired in a slump that includes all of one hit in the last seven days. Ladies and gentlemen, your savior:
Three times Peralta has hit more than 20 homers in a season. But last year he managed only 11, while batting .254, his lowest average since his rookie year in 2003.
That from an article entitled "Jhonny Peralta comes to rescue banged up Tigers."

The thing is, I actually like the move, and I'm not alone. Take it away Jimmy:
“This guy’s a professional hitter,” Leyland said. “He can knock in some runs. We’re taking a shot, but we need to get more veterans in here. We’re taking a shot really.”
Let's take a moment to look at last night's lineup, shall we? Jhonny Peralta instantly becomes the Tigers' FOURTH best hitter in last night's lineup, ahead of Worth, Sizemore, Larish, Raburn, Avila and Rhymes. And Jhonny is having the worst year of his career. The takeaway, I think, is this:
Here's why Peralta is good: he's not Sizemore, Worth or Rhymes. Net positive. Can't be the #tigers only move now though. Just a piece.
That's me on the twitters before the game yesterday. It only rings more true after watching the Tigers fail to execute, again. A league average hitter is a tremendous step forward for this team, especially one that has a history of being an above average player with power.

What's more, this series against the Rays has forced me to reevaluate my thinking of the Tigers' season. A few days ago I said that they were done, and that their best move was to accept their fate, trade Johnny Damon and prepare for next year. How wrong I was. The Tigers--with Johnny Damon--have looked embarrassingly awful during this losing streak. To lose Damon would be such a tremendous blow to this team, that it would crush the players left for dead on the roster and crush the fans who, at a minimum, want to see decent baseball.

Also, trading Damon may not be a smart move anyway. As of July 13, Johnny Damon was projected to be a Type A free agent, although he is right on the cusp. After being treated first-hand to the best of the best of the Tigers' farm system, I can thing of no better scenario for the Tigers than offering him arbitration at the end of the season and either 1) Getting Damon back in 2011 or 2) Getting 2 draft picks for him. Either one is likely more valuable than what he could bring in a trade at this point.

Which brings me back to Jhonny. Offensive upgrade immediately? Yes. Potential to stay in the lineup and remain as an upgrade when Brandon Inge returns? Yes. (SS is an option, he could platoon or DH if he does well). But make no mistake, Jhonny Peralta does not make the Tigers a playoff team. If anything, he keeps the Tigers from sliding further, and keeps the team competitive (and fans coming to the ballpark) later into the season. It also gives the message to the team: We're trying. Dave Dombrowski says as much:
"I was trying to do something to help our ballclub and do something to stay in this," Dombrowski said. "We think this helps our ballclub with a solid big league player. We've got a lot of young players. Right now it gives us another veteran in our lineup."
It's not enough, but they're trying. It's a first step. A Piece. Now, if they can find another piece to fit in there, we might actually have something. In the meantime, let's home that Jhonny with a JH can add a little buoyancy to this sinking ship.

Why is the Rays game at 12:10 this afternoon? What ever happened to the 1:05 start? Peralta's flight doesn't even get in until 11--there's no chance he starts today's game. Pinch hit home run, anyone?

1 comment:

  1. Nice trade for the Tigers. Now, if they could just get an outfielder they can at least be competitive.

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