I’ve been fighting with people all morning about this Jhonny Peralta business. The take of many: Peralta is walking evidence of crime paying and his big contract should/will force Major League Baseball to ratchet-up PED discipline. My take: the guy represented a scarce resource — a free agent shortstop who can hit — and dropped into a market where lots of teams have a need at shortstop and a lot of money to spend. Cheating didn’t get him his money. Market economics did.
With all of that in mind, go read Dave Cameron’s latest at FanGraphs. I’m not smart enough to be able to grok the Peralta’s defensive skills like Dave does, but he argues pretty convincingly that (a) Peralta is a better shortstop than many give him credit for; and (b) players who profile like Peralta basically make around $13 million a year. The upshot: Peralta was underrated by many, but smart teams like the Cardinals know exactly what they’re doing with him, financially speaking.
Whether it was a good contract remains to be seen of course. And what that all means morally and ethically is sort of beside that point. But the notion that Peralta somehow cheated as a means of duping a general manager into overpaying for fraudulent performance is sort of silly.
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.