Either way, the Jhonny Peralta-Biogenesis scenario will work itself out in the wash, but the shortstop should be providing answers to his organization.
Currently, Jhonny Peralta is playing perhaps the biggest role since joining the Detroit Tigers in 2010. He’s clubbing home runs, hitting the ball to every field and playing solid defense.
All of that makes his potential elimination from Detroit’s lineup incredibly hard to swallow, especially right now. Tuesday night, Peralta showed why once again, going 2-4 with another home run to help power the Tigers’ dominating 6-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
On pace to challenge his Detroit-best numbers where he clubbed 21 home runs and 86 RBI’s while hitting .299 in 2011, Peralta currently doesn’t know whether or not he’ll be disciplined by Major League Baseball for possible involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, which claimed its first victim Monday, when former National League MVP Ryan Braun was suspended the remainder of the 2013 season for his role. Certainly, if Peralta used at any time in the past, he deserves to be punished.
Peralta might not know whether he’ll officially be disciplined or for how long, but he should definitely know his own levels of personal guilt within this case. Whether or not he wants to speak publicly on the issue (which, likely in order to avoid Braun levels of embarrassment, he doesn’t) Peralta should either clear his name or own up within the organization first. That way, the Tigers will have a decent amount of time to formulate a quality contingency plan, which could be badly needed.
Detroit likely has plenty of league sources letting them know the true story on Peralta already, but if the shortstop wants to maintain good face, he should be the one owning up himself to them. With only a week left until the trade deadline, the TIgers are the team with the most to lose minus their player saddled with potential Biogenesis baggage. They’d have to replace supreme levels of production from a player hitting near the bottom of the order enjoying a career year with regards to batting average.
Without Peralta’s impressive levels of production, the Tigers might not be the serious World Series contenders they look to be this July. Similar Tigers’ teams, with lighter hitting shortstops, have wilted down the stretch, unable to produce enough runs top to bottom to win close games. Peralta has given Detroit’s lineup additional thump and teeth where it has been needed the most this season, and minus that, nobody can say what will end up happening the rest of the year with regards to production.
Certainly, if Peralta is guilty and disciplined, there are a few internal and external options available for replacement no matter how unattractive, including Chicago’s Alexei Ramirez and Seattle’s Brendan Ryan. The most attractive unattractive external option in that case would clearly be Ramirez, but the bidding has already begun for his services, with the St. Louis Cardinals reportedly recently inquiring. To get a leg up in possible trade negotiations, the Tigers need certainty on the issue of Peralta very quickly.
Whether or not Peralta ever speaks publicly on the issue, either way, he owes a major explanation to his team and his franchise first. Providing this sooner rather than later could help provide them with more varied options to move on, which could be critical for keeping October championship hopes alive in August.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax