Joel Peralta will be staying in Tampa Bay, as the free agent reliever and the Rays have agreed to a two-year, $6 million contract with a team option for 2015.
Peralta signed with the Rays in 2011 after the Nationals cut him loose despite excellent numbers the previous season and has logged 135 innings with a 3.27 ERA and 145/35 K/BB ratio in two seasons for Tampa Bay. During that time he’s been a bargain at a combined cost of $3.1 million.
Giving a multi-year deal to a 37-year-old is definitely a risk, but the price is certainly right and Peralta is coming off a season in which he posted by far the best strikeout rate of his career at 11.3 per nine innings and he was exceptional in the second half.
Nothing went right for the Blue Jays this weekend. The club was swept in a four-game series against the Athletics, including a 9-2 loss on Sunday. Not wanting to burn out his bullpen in a lopsided game — and perhaps thinking about the general entertainment value involved — Blue Jays manager John Gibbons decided to send designated hitter Kendrys Morales out to pitch the ninth inning. And in typical baseball fashion, he saw better results than some of the dudes who do this all the time.
Morales, who actually pitched in Cuba nearly 20 years ago, worked around a walk for a scoreless inning. He induced three fly outs and topped out at 87.4 mph on his fastball, per Brooks Baseball. He received a standing ovation on the way back to the dugout. Morales hasn’t been hearing that sort of thing for his contributions with the bat recently.
Morales, 34, is batting just .163/.248/.279 with three home runs through 32 games this season. There’s been some understandable clamoring for top prospect Vladmir Guerrero, Jr. to cut into his at-bats. For his part, Morales has been doing everything he can to break out of his slumber at the plate, including ditching the glasses he started wearing during spring training. Hey, whatever works. Morales also had two of Toronto’s four hits on Sunday.
On the heels of Morales’ first MLB appearance on the mound, it feels rather appropriate that the Blue Jays will get their first look at Angels sensation Shohei Ohtani — at least as a hitter — beginning on Tuesday.