Tigers “expected” to re-sign free agent-to-be Jhonny Peralta

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Last week the Tigers kept Brandon Inge from hitting the open market by signing him to a two-year, $11.5 million deal and now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that they’re “expected” to retain impending free agent Jhonny Peralta as well.

Peralta went from Cleveland to Detroit in a July 28 trade and hit just .253/.313/.396 in 57 games down the stretch, but apparently the Tigers liked what they saw more than the numbers suggest.

According to Morosi the Tigers are likely to decline their $7.5 million option on Peralta and try to re-sign him to two-year contract with a lower annual salary that “will probably be a little less than the $11.5 million” Inge received.

Now that Inge is signed through 2012 the Tigers would presumably use Peralta at shortstop, where his lack of range and error-prone ways caused the Indians to move him to third base. Morosi writes that the Tigers are willing to live with his sub par glove “in exchange for Peralta’s run production” and goes on to quote his RBI totals, but Peralta batted .249 with a .703 OPS this season and .254 with a .690 OPS last season. Not exactly strong production, let alone strong enough to make it worth sacrificing defense at a key position.

If the Tigers end up committing $10 million per season for the next two years to keep Inge and Peralta as the left side of their infield the rest of the AL Central should be thanking general manager Dave Dombrowski.

What happens with all the players the Braves lost yesterday?

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Yesterday’s unprecedented sanctions leveled on the Atlanta Braves hit them pretty hard, but it also turned a dozen players into free agents. What happens to them now? Who can sign them? When? And for how much?

First off, they get to keep their signing bonuses the Braves gave them. It wasn’t their fault the Braves messed up so it would make no sense for them to have to pay the money back. As for their next team: anyone can, theoretically, sign them. As far as team choice, they are free agents in the most narrow sense of the term.

There are limits, however, because as young, international players, their signings are subject to those caps on each team’s international bonus money which were imposed a few years back. Each team now has a “pool” of finite dollars they can spend on such players and, once that money is spent, teams are severely limited as to what they can offer an international free agent. Each summer the bonus pools are reset and it starts anew.

Which, on the surface, would seem to create a problem for the 12 new free agents, seeing as though a lot of teams have already spent much if not all of their July 2017-18 bonus pools. The good news on that, though, is that Major League Baseball has made a couple of exceptions for these guys:

  • First, the first $200,000 of any of the 12 former Braves players will not be subject to signing pools, so that’s a bit of a break; and
  • Second, even though these players will all likely be signed during the 2017-18 bonus pool period, teams have the option of counting the bonus toward the 2018-19 period. They can’t combine the money from the two periods, but they can, essentially, put off the cost into next year for accounting purposes.

Which certainly opens things up for clubs and gives the players more options as far as places to land go. A club can decide whether or not the guys on the market now look better than the guys they’ve been scouting with an eye toward signing after July 2018 and get a jump on things. Likewise, teams don’t have to decide whether or not to take a run at, say, Shohei Ohtani, burning bonus money now, or instead going after a former Braves player. Ohtani’s money will apply now, the Braves player can be accounted for next year.

The new free agents are eligible to sign during a window that begins on December 5 and ends on Jan. 15. If a player hasn’t signed by then, he can still sign with any club but cannot get a bonus. If a player hasn’t signed anywhere by May 1, 2018, he has the option of re-signing with the Braves, though they can’t pay the guy a bonus either.

Ben Badler of Baseball America has a rundown of the top guys who are now free agents thanks to the Braves’ malfeasance. Kevin Maitan is the big name. The 17-year-old shortstop was considered the top overall international free agent last year, though his first year in the Braves minor league system was less-than-impressive. There are a lot of other promising players too. All of whom now can find new employers.