The Tigers talked to Stephen Drew's agent, and they inquired about the Orioles' willingness to part with J.J. Hardy.

All the while, Jhonny Peralta was rumored to be on the shopping block.

But you'd never have guessed that with the way Tigers general manager Dave Dombrowski raved about his current shortstop Tuesday.

"People forget that this 'perfect player' doesn't really exist very often, and they all have their pluses and their minuses," Dombrowski said while addressing the annual Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association luncheon. "Jhonny does a real solid job for us. We like him.

"Two outs in the ninth inning, 3-2 lead, man on third base, there's not anybody in the league you'd prefer the ball hit to at shortstop than Jhonny Peralta."

Peralta won't often wow you with the glove, but he's as steady as they come. He gets to the ball, he turns it into an out.

That said, Dombrowski conceded Peralta isn't going to magically find great range now that he's 30. He won't cover the ground of an Elvis Andrus. But Peralta is willing to work to get the most out of his skill set. He's reportedly trimmed between 10 and 20 pounds this offseason, and last year he spent countless reps working on his footwork.

It's why, Dombrowski said, Peralta has moved better in the second half. He put on a where-did-that-come-from clinic in the American League Championship Series against the Yankees.

"He's not gonna be Andrus, let's say, at shortstop," Dombrowski said. "But it doesn't mean he's not a real good major league player."

The team's feelings, combined with the weak free-agent market, made Peralta's $6 million option for 2013 an easy pickup — if, for nothing else, as insurance, should the Tigers not be able to upgrade at short.

It appears, though, Peralta will be the guy for at least one more season, and — because nobody is knocking on the door in the minor leagues — perhaps beyond. And Dombrowski is plenty fine with that, especially if Peralta, offensively, can find a middle ground between his career-best 2011 and his career-worst 2012.



From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130206/SPORTS0104/302060314#ixzz2K87euWtr