Tigers “expected” to re-sign free agent-to-be Jhonny Peralta

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Last week the Tigers kept Brandon Inge from hitting the open market by signing him to a two-year, $11.5 million deal and now Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com reports that they’re “expected” to retain impending free agent Jhonny Peralta as well.

Peralta went from Cleveland to Detroit in a July 28 trade and hit just .253/.313/.396 in 57 games down the stretch, but apparently the Tigers liked what they saw more than the numbers suggest.

According to Morosi the Tigers are likely to decline their $7.5 million option on Peralta and try to re-sign him to two-year contract with a lower annual salary that “will probably be a little less than the $11.5 million” Inge received.

Now that Inge is signed through 2012 the Tigers would presumably use Peralta at shortstop, where his lack of range and error-prone ways caused the Indians to move him to third base. Morosi writes that the Tigers are willing to live with his sub par glove “in exchange for Peralta’s run production” and goes on to quote his RBI totals, but Peralta batted .249 with a .703 OPS this season and .254 with a .690 OPS last season. Not exactly strong production, let alone strong enough to make it worth sacrificing defense at a key position.

If the Tigers end up committing $10 million per season for the next two years to keep Inge and Peralta as the left side of their infield the rest of the AL Central should be thanking general manager Dave Dombrowski.

Jim Crane thought the heat over sign-stealing would blow over by spring training

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The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.

After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.

Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.

Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:

Guess not.

In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?