August 1st, 2013

For Tigers, Peralta, the wait goes on (updated)

The Tigers off-day had barely started when Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports put out this tweet that put the vigil off for another day:

So if an announcement on suspensions is going to happen this week, as was reported last weekend, maybe it’s Friday. If it’s not Friday, then the wait goes into next week.

And while the national reports keeping churning out new twists in the Alex Rodriguez saga, the Tigers, Rangers and other teams with players that have been reported twist in the wind.

This is the scenario Dave Dombrowski talked about when he explained the reasoning behind the trade for Jose Iglesias Tuesday night. Had the Tigers waited past the non-waiver Trade Deadline for more information on Jhonny Peralta, they would’ve been scrambling for options in a landscape where multiple contending teams — not just the Indians, but the Royals and the Orioles and the Yankees too — could have blocked a trade for a shortstop with a simple waiver claim. And if the Tigers wanted to swing a trade, they would’ve been left either with a middling option or a veteran with a big enough contract that nobody would’ve dared made a claim and risked taking on all the money.

“I don’t really know what’s going to happen as far as timing is concerned,” Dombrowski said when he announced the trade, “but I also think that when there are enough things being discussed you get a little concerned about those things. My problem ends up being that after 4 o’clock [Wednesday], I cannot aggressively try to do anything that’s assured. …

“I do think there are some things are going to take place, but what is going to take place, I’m not 100 percent sure.”

peralta073113bThe longer this goes on, though, the more games go along. The Tigers now have 106 games played, 56 to go. A 50-game suspension for a player would leave six games left in the regular season after the suspension expires. If the wait continues into next week, the Tigers would have 53 games left, and the math continues.

It has been a long enough saga that Peralta, who had declined comment on the investigation and anything Biogenesis related since reporting to Spring Training in February, is now starting to talk about it.

“It’s difficult to wait and everything like that,” Peralta said after Wednesday’s game. “Nobody wants to wait to see what’ll happen. But whatever happens right now, I need to see what can happen and try to move on.”

When asked if he had been asked to testify by Major League Baseball, Peralta said, “No, I don’t talk to anybody yet.”

That includes team officials.

“I don’t communicate too much with Dombrowski, but my agent talked to him,” Peralta said. “I don’t know too much about what’s happening right now.”

When asked if it’s wrong that he’s caught up in this situation, this wait, Peralta said, “I mean, yes, it’s wrong, but whatever happens right now, I need to fight and try to move on.”

There are a few different ways to interpret that quote, but then, that goes along with a lot of other things that aren’t clear yet and probably won’t be until any announcement comes out. Meanwhile, fans keep wondering in the seventh or eighth inning if that last Peralta at-bat for the game (they haven’t had to bat in the bottom of the ninth in a while, if you haven’t noticed) is his last for a while, his last for the season, his last as a Tiger.

Meanwhile, Iglesias’ role — and the roster move to create a spot for him — remains in question. He’s scheduled to join the team on Friday. If Peralta is active, the Tigers have to send him a player — Hernan Perez, potentially — to open a spot. Once a player is optioned to the minors, he must spend 10 days there unless he’s replacing somebody on the disabled list.

UPDATE: I double checked on the rule regarding roster moves for players suspended under MLB’s Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. For roster purposes, a suspended player is treated like a player on the disabled list. If a team had just optioned a player to the minors, that player doesn’t have to sit in the minors for 10 days before being recalled if he’s replacing a suspended player. I’m not sure if the same rule applies for a player suspended under the collective bargaining agreement, as some reports have suggested MLB might do with Alex Rodriguez.