The Tigers have been expected to reach some sort of deal to bring back Jhonny Peralta as their shortstop for next year. But could they sign him even beyond that?
If it allows Detroit to bring back Peralta for a lower average salary than what he would’ve made on his $7.25 million contract option, then the answer might be yes. Foxsports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi suggests the Tigers will agree on a two-year contract with Peralta rather than pick up the one-year club option.
An industry source said late Tuesday night that no deal was imminent. Still, a second year would be an interesting twist to a deal that has been expected since the season ended.
Indications have suggested in recent days that the Tigers will not pick up the option, even if it means letting Peralta become a free agent. The option was part of the five-year, $13 million contract Peralta signed with Cleveland entering the 2006 season, one of several long-term deals the Indians reached with their young stars in the wake of their surprise threat to the division title in 2005.
Team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said at season’s end that they were interested in negotiating a new deal with Peralta, though he didn’t rule out the option at the time. Peralta, for his part, has said since the day he joined the Tigers in late July that he’d like to stay.
Dombrowski indicated at Brandon Inge’s press conference last week that talks were still in the early stages, but that they had time to work out a deal. To that end, Dombrowski said he’s “optimistic something will happen.”
If the Tigers aren’t interested in paying Peralta $7.25 million for next season, but would like to sign Peralta before he hits free agency, something would logically have to entice Peralta to sign. Short of contract incentives, a second year on the deal might be the enticement.