Do Tigers have to worry about a shortstop?
Here’s the statement Jhonny Peralta’s attorney, Barry Boss, made on his behalf after a Sports Illustrated report in early February said Peralta’s name was found in records from the Biogenesis clinic:
“I have never used performance-enhancing drugs. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is lying.”
Four months later, you wonder if this case is going to come down to that: Anthony Bosch telling investigators something about Peralta and/or other clients, and attorneys questioning the credibility of Bosch and his connections.
Nobody can predict how that goes, which is why it’s way too early to make any declarations on Peralta’s situation or the Tigers’ lack of obvious replacements.
At this point, the reports leave a major mystery surrounding Peralta. Unlike several others linked in reports to Biogenesis, there’s still no mention where Peralta shows up in the records. Nothing mentions any numbers next to Peralta’s name, any code name, any receipts. At this point, we’re left to guess what a mention means.
The original report in SI said Peralta doesn’t appear to be tied directly to PEDs in the records, which would explain why Miami New Times didn’t include his name in its original story. ESPN’s Outside the Lines story Tuesday night didn’t make a specific connection to a document, either.
It could be up to Bosch to try to make a connection, if there is any. It could be up to attorneys to try to make or break that case.
One thing about that process: It would not likely be quick.
Major League Baseball will want to make sure the case was tight before pursuing it, which would seemingly go against the report that suspensions could be announced within a couple weeks.
The MLB Players Association would have its say, potentially with a grievance through arbitration, which would add more time to the process. The arbitration process for Ryan Braun after his reported positive test two offseasons ago took a little over four months.
Take in all the factors, and the idea of the Tigers being without a shortstop in a couple weeks seems a bit premature. Depending on how the process goes, the Tigers could end up doing the same thing they were on track to do all along, looking at their options for a shortstop in the offseason.
That said, it’s a reminder just how thin the Tigers are at short. Utilityman Ramon Santiago has filled in for stretches at shortstop over the last several years, but he’ll turn 34 at the end of August, and he has looked overmatched at the plate. Omar Infante came up as a shortstop through the Tigers system, but that was more than a decade ago, and he hasn’t played a game at short since 2010. Danny Worth has missed just under two months with a bruised heel and is working out in extended Spring Training. Hernan Perez (a second baseman who can play shortstop) and Eugenio Suarez (a shortstop) are budding prospects at Double-A Erie, but even getting them ready for next year might be an aggressive timetable.