November 21, 2012
Wednesday, November 21
Most of Tuesday’s action occurred on the transactions wire, with almost all teams scurrying to protect minor-league assets from the Rule Five Draft, and a few others finalizing trades before the holiday weekend. The rumor mill, by contrast, was rather dormant, but here are a few stories to chew on before the turkey is served:
Diamondbacks pondering various third-base options
General manager Kevin Towers sought to address the problem midseason by acquiring Chris Johnson from the Astros on July 29, and the 28-year-old caught fire immediately after arriving in the desert, smacking five home runs in his first eight games. Unfortunately, Johnson went on to collect only two more homers the rest of the way, and while he can be a useful bench contributor offering pop from the right side of the plate, the .276/.315/.430 career hitter lacks the overall skill set to play every day.
And that’s why, according to The Arizona Republic beat writer Nick Piecoro, Towers is now scouring the free-agent market and trade block for possible upgrades. On Monday, Piecoro reported that Jeff Keppinger—who enjoyed a career year in 2012, batting .325/.367/.439 in an infield utility role for the Rays—was on the Diamondbacks’ radar, though it’s unclear whether Towers views the 32-year-old as an everyday player or a roving reserve. Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta, on the other hand, has been a starter for the past eight seasons, and there are reasons to believe that he could be available.
Tigers could replace Peralta with Stephen Drew
Peralta scuffled at the plate in 2012, logging his worst TAv (.244) since 2006 and his lowest home-run total (13) since 2009, and that mediocre output combined with his -6.0 FRAA nearly relegated him to replacement-level status (0.3 WARP). Of course, that dud came on the heels of a robust 3.4 WARP campaign in 2011, and it’s difficult to believe that Peralta has suddenly turned into a pumpkin after being the league’s sixth-most valuable shortstop the previous year. The Diamondbacks and Red Sox—the two teams that have reportedly expressed interest—would both offer a cushy ballpark for Peralta to rebuild his value before testing the free-agent waters next year.