Jhonny Peralta of the Detroit Tigers has been suspended 50 games for his relationship to Biogenesis, the now defunct South Florida anti-aging clinic. Peralta has chosen not to appeal the decision handed down by MLB commissioner Bud Selig. Peralta would be eligible to return to the lineup with three games remaining in the Tigers season.
Peralta is yet another example of a professional athlete that tell the world that they did not wrong. They tell the fans and their teammates that they are innocent of the accusations. Last winter Peralta came out and said just that in a statement.
“I have never used performance-enhancing drugs. Period. Anybody who says otherwise is lying.”
Yet here we are on another dark day in baseball where a total of 13 players have been suspended for using Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Does Peralta appeal? No, he accepts the suspension quietly and releases a statement.
“I take full responsibility for my actions, have no excuses for my lapse in judgment and I accept my suspension. I love the fans, my teammates and this organization and my greatest punishment is knowing that I have let so many good people down.”
Is this new? No, of course not. Melky Cabrera attempted to create a website to fool MLB in 2012 only to come clean when caught red handed. Ryan Braun accused an innocent worker of tampering and recanted once he had nowhere to run. The list goes on and on.
Some athletes cheat, lie and know they can just apologize later. Even some guys in Peralta’s own locker room are conflicted at this point. When second baseman Omar Infante was asked his opinion you could sense the mixed emotions.
“No, no, I don’t know, man. I don’t know what to say.”
How much did the Detroit Tigers believe their All-Star? They traded for the young Boston Red Sox short stop Jose Iglesias. Why would they do this if they were sure Peralta was on the up and up? The trade shows just how much teams believe players connected to PED use in this era.
How will the Peralta suspension affect the Tigers chances to make a postseason run? Let’s look at a couple of points. First the Tigers have the luxury of playing the American League Central where they have a four game lead over the overachieving Cleveland Indians. The Tigers can also send out Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer two out of every five days. Those two points provide a level of comfort.
Next is the trade for Iglesias, who will be under team control until 2018 and not eligible for arbitration until 2015. At face value people look at the loss of an All-Star like Jhonny Peralta as a disaster but the acquisition of Iglesias meets the need. Through 104 games in 2013 Peralta is hitting .305 with 11 home runs and 54 RBI. Meanwhile through 66 games the younger Iglesias is hitting .323 with two home runs and 21 RBI. Iglesias does not have the power that Peralta has but the Tigers can rest on the shoulders of Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera for pop.
Defensively Peralta has committed four errors in 435 total chances for a fielding percentage of .991 in 2013. Iglesias, with a smaller sample, has committed one error in 106 total chances. What is that fielding percentage? The answer is .991 just like Peralta. Iglesias also has more upside than Peralta based on age alone. He range is better and under the tutelage of Jim Leyland the sky is the limit.
Unlike Nelson Cruz in Texas I believe the Tigers will be fine without Peralta. He is a free agent at the end of this season and with Iglesias in the fold there will just not be a spot for a short stop coming off of a 50 game suspension. Even if they wanted him on the roster it does not make sense to only give a player three games to “knock the rust off” before the postseason begins. Baring a unique situation Jhonny Peralta has played his last game in a Detroit Tigers uniform.