Tigers decline Jhonny Peralta’s option for 2011, but may work out new deal

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Last week the Tigers were said to be working on a two-year contract with Jhonny Peralta and Jason Beck of MLB.com reports that the two sides are still talking, but in the meantime they declined his $7.5 million option for 2011.

Detroit should be able to re-sign him for quite a bit less than that salary, particularly on a two-year deal, so the declined option likely doesn’t really impact Peralta’s chances of staying with the Tigers.

As for why the Tigers want to bring him back, let alone for two more seasons … well, I’m not sure.

Peralta hit .249/.311/.392 in 148 games overall this season, including .253/.314/.396 in 53 games with the Tigers, and he’s a poor defensive shortstop who had been moved to third base in Cleveland prior to the midseason trade. He also hit just .254/.316/.375 in 2009.

J.D. Martinez tells teams he prefers an outfield role

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Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.

That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.

Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.