Author: Mike Florio

Jhonny Peralta hopes the Tigers pick up his $7 million option for next season


Traded from Cleveland to Detroit last month, Jhonny Peralta said yesterday that he’d like to remain with the Tigers next season:

I want to be here. I hope they pick up the option. But I want to be here. I like everybody here.

That comes as no surprise, because “the option” is for $7 million and that’s likely significantly more than Peralta would fetch for next season on the open market.
Peralta has shifted back to shortstop for the Tigers after playing primarily third base for the Indians, but few teams are likely to view him as a legitimate option defensively at shortstop and his .244/.310/.405 hitting line in 116 total games this season is hardly good production from a third baseman. And he was even worse last year, hitting a career-low .254/.316/.375 in 151 games.
If the Tigers want him back for 2011 they can certainly accomplish that for less than $7 million, although it’s possible they could decide to pick up the option just to avoid being pressured into a multi-year commitment.

Max Scherzer has dominated since returning from Triple-A


When the Tigers demoted Max Scherzer to Triple-A in mid-May he was 1-4 with an ugly 7.29 ERA, but since returning following a two-week stint in Toledo he’s been one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball.
Scherzer tossed eight innings of one-run ball against the Blue Jays last night, improving to 9-5 with a 2.20 ERA, .215 opponents’ batting average, and 116 strikeouts in 111 innings since rejoining the rotation.
Including his rough early outings Scherzer has a 3.60 ERA, .247 opponents’ batting average, and 142/59 K/BB ratio in 153 innings overall this season. He’s one of just a dozen American League starters with an average fastball above 93 miles per hour and has the eighth-best strikeout rate in the league at 8.4 whiffs per nine innings.
An overpowering fastball combined with a mid-80s slider and quality changeup give Scherzer the potential to be a top-of-the-rotation starter long term and the 25-year-old right-hander has emerged as one of the biggest bright spots in a disappointing season for the Tigers.

Tony La Russa and Albert Pujols to attend rally in Washington with Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin


While in Washington to play the Nationals this weekend Albert Pujols and Tony La Russa will be guests at the “Restoring Honor” rally organized by FOX News host Glenn Beck and featuring former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.
Pujols is being honored at the event and La Russa will be on hand to introduce him to what’s expected to be a crowd of over 20,000 gathering at the Lincoln Memorial on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream” speech.
Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch writes that La Russa was only willing to attend and involve Pujols “after receiving assurances that the event is not a thinly disguised political rally.” Here’s more from the manager, who got into some hot water last month for publicly supporting the Arizona immigration law:

I made it clear when we were approached. I said, “If it’s political, I wouldn’t even approach Albert with it.” I don’t want to be there if it’s political. I made the point several times: “What is this about?” I don’t know who’s going to be there, who’s going to accept it. But the gist of the day is not political. I think it’s a really good concept, actually.

I’ll go out on a limb here and guess that a rally hosted by Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin at the base of the Lincoln Memorial will probably have just a tad of politics involved. Strauss notes that “some liberal critics have portrayed the three-hour event as a platform for the conservative Tea Party movement” and adds that “the rally is expected to include a faith-based message, something that squares with Pujols’ commitment to his faith as well as his Pujols Family Foundation.”

Micah Owings stays with Reds, accepts Triple-A assignment


Reds general manager Walt Jocketty apparently wasn’t kidding when he said there was “not a lot of interest” in Micah Owings from other teams after the right-hander was designated for assignment last week.
Owings cleared waivers and has accepted an assignment to Triple-A, which means he’ll remain in the Reds organization while losing his spot on the 40-man roster. He’ll try to get back on track in the minors, but Owings is unlikely to receive a September call-up now that a 40-man spot would need to be cleared for his return.
He’s still just 27 years old and at one point looked like a potential middle-of-the-rotation starter long term, but Owings has ERAs of 5.93, 5.34, and 5.40 over the past three seasons and given his strong track record offensively I continue to think he’d be better off ditching pitching for an attempt at becoming a full-time position player. He has a .293 batting average and .538 slugging percentage in 198 career plate appearances and also starred as a hitter in college.