Thursday, December 24, 2009

Are the Cleveland Indians about to deal Jhonny Peralta?

Are the Cleveland Indians about to deal away their third baseman? There's speculation that the Indians are listening to some offers for Jhonny Peralta, and would likely deal him for the right package of players. No, there's nothing concrete. As a matter of fact, John Paul Morosi of stated that,
The Twins haven’t actively pursued a trade for Cleveland third baseman Jhonny Peralta, multiple sources said. But the Indians could be persuaded to move him if offered the right package.

You could say that Jhonny Peralta has been one of the most speculated Tribe employees with regards to being traded over the past three seasons. He had lost favor with Eric Wedge after struggling in 2006, and after a solid 2007 season, seemed to carry some weight in the trade market as a power-hitting shortstop.

Peralta was moved to third base in 2009 after much speculation, and never really took to it. Peralta never visibly complained, but his offensive performance spoke volumes of his struggles making a move that the Indians didn't appropriately prepare him for. His power numbers dropped, and he went from a power-hitting shortstop to a light-hitting third baseman. His value most certainly dropped.

Add to that the firing of Eric Wedge, and the hiring of Manny Acta, and it seemed as though Peralta would be a lock to stay in the wigwam. There are a variety of reasons to see an upswing in Peralta's 2010 performance. Obviously, a year at a position will make you better, especially when you know about it in spring training. Acta and Peralta also seem to have a solid relationship. Both hail from the Dominican Republic, and Acta has been trying to reach out to all his veterans to ensure a smooth transition. In return, Peralta has aired his baggage and struggles, and seems ready to move on.

So why the mention of Jhonny Peralta in the foxsports article? It could be a writer just going from roster-to-roster, as many of these stories are. It may even be a writer who has read all the speculation over the past few years that put Peralta in an article dealing with a possible trade. Or, it could be one of those smoky stories that has more fire to it that just speculation?

I'm not sure if there is more to this story than meets the eye, but you have to believe that the Indians are shopping Peralta. Perhaps they aren't done dumping payroll. Perhaps Acta sensed trouble with regards to Peralta after his initial talk. Perhaps the Indians are just fishing to see if they can get another Carlos Santana-deal.

If Marte is dealt, the Indians would be hard-pressed to fill the roster. Andy Marte is available, but it's believed that he's the leading candidate to fill in at first base while Matt LaPorta gets healthy. Of course, when LaPorta returns, Marte could slide right over to third. This is assuming that Michael Brantley is ready for a full-time stint in left field, and assuming Marte doesn't hit below the Mendoza-line. Is Wes Hodges ready after struggling in 2009 with injury?

Obviously, at this stage of the game, if the Indians can get some top prospects for Peralta, they'd be idiotic not to. Of course, can they get top prospects? You're talking about a guy who hit .254 last season, with only 11 homers and 83 RBI. These aren't the numbers you want from a corner infielder. Selling low isn't smart, but we don't even know if the Indians are selling.

Will Peralta be with the Tribe in 2010? I can't imagine that he wouldn't be, but if there's one thing I CAN be sure of, is to expect the unexpected...

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