Turning into a Major League Baseball version of the Cavaliers and Phoenix Suns, the Indians could once again be entering into a deal with the Colorado Rockies. Troy Renck of The Denver Post has deemed Tribe third baseman Jhonny Peralta as a “potential fit” in the mile high city due to his team-friendly contract and ability to play multiple positions.
Though the note is titled “Jhonny Be Good,” Renck does hit on key points while mentioning the history between the two teams. It was Colorado who traded utility infielder Jamey Carrol to the Wahoos back in 2007 for a Player to be Named Later (ultimately RHP Sean Smith). Two years later, the Indians sent Rafael Betancourt to the Rockies for RHP Connor Graham.
In the final year of his deal, Peralta is owed roughly $2 million. After amassing at least 20 home runs and a triple-digit OPS+ total in three of four seasons between 2003 and 2006, the shortstop-turned-third baseman has struggled mightily with regression in his power numbers as well as contact rate. While these last three seasons should have been Peralta’s technical prime, he has seen a year-over-year decline in batting average, on-base percentage, home runs and RBI.
While July and August have been his strong periods throughout his career, Peralta is hitting a considerably sub-par slash line of .241/.288/.370 (OPS of .638) through 54 at-bats this month. Perhaps he could benefit from the thin air out west.
One thing that Renck may want to temper his expectations on is the whole “versatility” front. From a defensive standpoint, Peralta has had a negative UZR rating through both of his seasons at third base. Since 2004, Peralta managed one season of a positive UZR at shortstop with 2006 and 2007 being -10.6 and -12.4, respectively. Typically getting the benefit of the doubt from home field scorekeepers, Peralta was charged with an error this past weekend as a well-hit ground ball cruised by him approximately one step to his left on into left field. So, there’s that.
It is becoming evident that the player who looked to be part of the team’s core just three seasons ago is no longer figuring in to the team’s future. With first-round draft pick Lonnie Chisenhall in Akron (possibly finishing the season in Columbus), a move of some sort is eminent. What the Indians can get back in return for the player in question remains to be seen. If the team expects anything of value, they will almost certainly have to pay the majority of his salary as he finishes out the season.