As nice as it would be to sign Rafael Soriano to set-up K-Rod, bring in Manny Ramirez as a pinch-hitter, and hire Jerry Seinfeld as our third-base coach, none of those things are going to happen. But when fans play General Manager, usually anything half-crazy goes. That’s why this holiday season, I’m only asking Santa/Hanukkah Harry for just one small, realistic gift–reliever, Joel Peralta.
Peralta was originally signed as an amateur free agent by the Oakland Athletics back in 1996 as a 20 year-old. The young pitcher got cut loose, and spent four seasons in the Los Angels Angels minor league system. He first appeared in the big league in 2005, posting a very respectable 3.89 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 30 K’s, and 14 BB’s in 34 IP. For whatever reason, the Angels placed Peralta on waivers, and the Kansas City Royals happily picked him up. Peralta went on to post two high quality relief seasons for the Royals from 2006-2007, posting a combined 4.07 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 123 K’s, 36 BB’s, and 2 Saves in 161.3 IP. Despite the two quality seasons, from 2008-2009 (for the Royals/Colorado Rockies), Peralta dropped off big-time, sporting a dismal 6.05 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 60 K’s, 26 BB’s, and whopping 2.1 HR/9.
After two terrible seasons, and at age 34, it looked as though the fickle nature of relievers finally caught up with Joel Peralta. Regardless, the Washington Nationals took a chance, and signed him to a minor league deal. And boy, did that work out for both parties. The revived Peralta pitched to the tune of a 2.02 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, 49 K’s, and just 9 BB’s in 49 IP. Even though Peralta arguably had the best season of any reliever, the Nationals shockingly non-tendered him.
There haven’t been many rumors linked to Joel Peralta this off-season, but keep in mind that Sandy Alderson signed Peralta back in 1996, so it’s possible there could be a reunion in 2011. Considering Peralta’s age and strange lack of market interest, it’s possible Alderson could pull-off a two-year, $5-6 million deal, which would be a terrific move to solidify the pen for the upcoming season.