What does it mean to be interested in a player? I am interested in having a billion dollars. There is no chance of this occurring. The Orioles, according to Jon Morosi of FOX Sports, are interested in Jhonny Peralta:
That's what you call a slow news day. Interest is about as flimsy as it gets. No indication that they have even talked to Peralta's representation, possible contract terms, or anything. Just interest. Shy high school kids the world over can go to a dance and be interested in someone and leave without ever talking to them. That's the Orioles in free agency.
Peralta is coming off of a season where he batted .303/.358/.457 in 107 games. He played so few games because he was caught in the net of baseball's Biogenesis investigation and accepted a 50-game suspension, which is now complete. The right-hander has been a shortstop for his entire career, but at the age of 31, it may be time to move him into the outfield, which is what his former team, the Tigers, experimented with in some of the team's playoff games.
While his batting line is impressive enough, it may have been heavily aided by Peralta hitting .374 on balls in play, an amount significantly higher than his average in his career to date. Assuming he can continue to do that in the future would be a mistake. In his career, Peralta has batted .268/.330/.425. He has been wildly inconsistent in his career in the sense that the only time he's had back-to-back decent seasons at the plate was 2007 and 2008.
Defensive metrics like UZR and DRS have Peralta has a mediocre shortstop at best. He was forced into the outfield for the Tigers mostly because of the acquisition of Jose Iglesias during his suspension. The Orioles, of course, are fairly well set at shortstop and third base, but anyone can stand in left field with a glove, as long as they don't fall over while trying to catch baseballs. Finding players who won't fall over is easier said than done. The team could be better off setting its sights higher defensively and lower offensively in finding a player to play in left.
MLB Trade Rumors projects that Peralta will find himself a three-year, $36 million contract. This will not come at the cost of a draft pick because the Tigers did not offer him a qualifying offer, presumably afraid that he might accept it. $12 million a year sounds like a lot for a player like Peralta. It costs money to get players with any track record of success, whatever it might be.
If Peralta ended up being the only "big" acquisition of the offseason, that would be disappointing. That price tag makes it likely he would be the only one. Not making any acquistions at all, or limiting such to retaining Nate McLouth, would also be disappointing.
The love song has come on and people are partnering up. The Orioles are nervously sipping on a cup of punch with the other wallflowers, checking their watch until they notice it's the time they feel it's socially acceptable to leave. Mom is waiting around the corner in the minivan.