Things were much different when the Tigers acquired Jhonny Peralta six weeks ago. Detroit was in contention and Peralta was hitting just .246/.308/.389. Even though his contract includes a 2011 option, the Tigers added him with 2010 in mind. Now, the Tigers' playoff hopes have unraveled, but it has been no fault of Peralta's. His play has improved since joining the Tigers, so they may even keep him.
Peralta said last month that he hopes the Tigers pick up his $7MM option and repeated as much to Steve Kornacki of MLive.com yesterday. But the Tigers are the ones who must decide whether to bring the infielder back or find another shortstop via trade or free agency.
After playing third for the Indians, Peralta is back at shortstop in Detroit. He doesn't distinguish himself with his defense, though (UZR has Peralta as about average from 2008-10). Peralta is hitting .275/.342/.458 in Detroit and he has already hit as many homers for the Tigers as he did in Cleveland (7). It's a major improvement and if he can keep it up and play a respectable shortstop he'd be worth a net cost of $6.75MM.
Miguel Tejada, Orlando Cabrera, Alex Gonzalez, Juan Uribe and Adam Everett signed for $6MM or less last offseason, so it's hard to imagine Peralta finding $7MM as a free agent, despite his strong finish. The Tigers would likely be able to find a serviceable free agent shortstop more cheaply, so if they pick up the option it shows that they believe Peralta can continue hitting this well.