The Tigers sign Jhonny Peralta to a two-year deal

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UPDATE: The deal is done. Two-years, $11.25 million with a club option for 2013.

Saturday, 4:25 P.M.: According to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com, the Tigers are close to signing Jhonny Peralta to a two-year, $11.25 million contract.

The Tigers declined Peralta’s $7.5 million option for 2011 earlier this week, but they were expected to bring him back at a lesser salary. If Rojas’ report is true, he will return at nearly the same price as Brandon Inge, who recently re-signed with the Tigers for two years and $11.5 million.

Peralta, who turns 29 next May, batted .249/.311/.392 with 15 home runs, 81 RBI and the Indians and Tigers this past season.

It’s a curious decision, to say the least. Peralta rates well below average defensively at shortstop and has posted an OPS of 696 over the past two seasons. Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski may soon regret the composition of the left side of his infield. You’d think that $22.75 million could have been better spent this offseason.

Kyle Schwarber is “probably, arguably” in The Best Shape of His Life

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Joe Maddon just held his annual media availability here at the Winter Meetings. During the scrum he said that Kyle Schwarber “looked great the other day” at a Cubs community event and that . . . wait for it . . . “he’s in, probably, arguably in the best shape of his life.” Maddon went on to say that, if Schwarber looks good in spring training, he might even be the Cubs leadoff hitter in 2018.

Schwarber is only 24, but the former catcher turned outfielder is going to spend most of his career as a DH, with another team obviously, unless he shows the Cubs that he can be a regular defender. The Cubs would love to see him in better shape whether they keep him or shop him, and if it’s the latter, they’ll want to show potential trade partners that he can play defense so as not to limit his market. It’s in everyone’s interests for him to be lean, mean and a bit more flexible once spring training starts.

To that end, according to a recent report, Schwarber “has been on a mission this offseason to transform his body.” And now Maddon is playing up the BSOHL angle. Whether that’s salesmanship or not, all eyes are going to be on Schwarber come February.