Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports has reported that Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is accepting without appeal his 50-game suspension for Performance Enhancing Drug use. This comes to no surprise to anyone who has been following baseball news the last few weeks. With 50 games left in the Tigers season, this means that Peralta would be eligible to come back for the last three games in Miami and also the playoffs if they make it.
The question is whether the Tigers will want him back at all. The Giants did not want Melky Cabrera back last year, so it's possible the same could happen here. However, I sense the Tigers have a good relationship with Peralta and I suspect they would be open to re-instating him on the roster. It does not seem likely that he would come back as a starter though. The Tigers acquired new shortstop Jose Iglesias at a big price (promising young outfielder Avisail Garcia), not only as insurance for Peralta, but also to be their shortstop of the future.
The Tigers will miss Peralta's bat, but not his defense. I have never been happy with the Tigers trio of statues on the infield at first, shortstop and third base, even with the excellent offense they provide. Miguel Cabrera is the best hitter in baseball, Prince Fielder will probably get back to being one of the best and Peralta was an above average shortstop offensively. The best starting rotation in baseball deserves some infield defense though and they haven't beeen getting enough it.
It is especially important to have infielders with range behind extreme ground ball pitchers Doug Fister and Rick Porcello. Peralta is not a horrible defender. He is very sure handed but has little range and a weak arm. We have already been given a sampling of what Iglesias can do at third and he should be able to do even more at shortstop. I'm happy to give up Peralta's bat for a gold glove caliber shortstop if he can hit at all.
How well, this new arrangement works out depends on Iglesias' bat. So far, in the majors, he has batted .277/.328/.360 in 328 at plate appearances. If he can do that with his defense, it will be more than acceptable. Even something like .250/.310/.340 would be acceptable.
There are no guarantees, but the acquisition of Iglesias was not a desperation move. The hope is that he will be the starting shortstop in Detroit for the next few years and that Peralta will be forgotten quickly. It's going to be fun to watch and I bet that Fister and Porcello agree.