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.
Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels have inked outfielder Eric Young, Jr. to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Young, 31, played in just six games and logged one plate appearance in the majors this past season with the Yankees. He last played regularly in 2014. While Young doesn’t do much with the bat, he could provide value as a pinch-runner. He also offers versatility, having played all three outfield positions along with second base.
The Angels have Ben Revere as their fourth outfielder and Jefry Marte behind him, so Young would need to have a very impressive showing in spring training to find a spot on the Angels’ roster.
Update (5:20 PM EST): It’s a minor league contract, per Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. If he makes the major league roster, Saltalamacchia will earn $1.25 million with an additional $250,000 available through incentives.
The Blue Jays are close to a deal with free agent catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet is reporting.
Saltalamacchia, 31, hit a meager .171/.284/.346 with 12 home runs and 38 RBI in 292 plate appearances with the Tigers this past season. With Russell Martin getting regular playing time behind the plate, Saltalamacchia will serve as his understudy, pushing A.J. Jimenez and Juan Graterol down on the depth chart.
The veteran catcher isn’t far removed from being a productive backstop. He had an .805 OPS in 70 games with the Diamondbacks in 2015 and also helped the Red Sox win the World Series in 2013 with an .804 OPS in 121 games.