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Posted at 12:19 PM ET, 12/ 3/2010

The Joel Peralta non-tender explained

By Adam Kilgore

This morning, I heard the explanation for why the Nationals non-tendered Joel Peralta, an initially surprising decision based on his 2.02 ERA, 49 strikeouts and 0.796 WHIP in 49 rubber-armed innings last season.

The Nationals offered Peralta a one-year, guaranteed contract in an effort to avoid arbitration. Peralta, 34, tried to parlay his excellent season into a two-year deal from the club. That's a lot of risk for a 34-year-old middle reliever who just had, by far, his best season. The Nationals decided they couldn't take that risk, or the chance of going into arbitration with him, so they non-tendered him.

Honestly, I can't blame the Nationals and I think Peralta will regret his decision. Look at what happened to Mike MacDougal last year; he could have taken a $2 million from the Nats for one year, but he turned it down and ended up signing a minor-league deal midway through spring training after he was released by the Marlins.

Hopefully it works out better for Peralta, a good guy who can fill a number of roles out of the bullpen who's got a good story -- did you know he actually was signed as a shortstop as a teenager out of the Dominican Republic? Hopefully he becomes a late-bloomer and keeps dominating like he did this year.

If he does that with some other team, I don't think you can fault the Nationals. They made a tough, probably unpopular decision. But it was also, in my estimation, a sound decision.

By Adam Kilgore  | December 3, 2010; 12:19 PM ET
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Next: Mike Rizzo's statement on Adam Dunn


While they were explaining Peralta, did anyone explain why this team let a fan favorite who hit 40 HR and 100 RBI walk away?

Posted by: raymitten | December 3, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Thanks AK. In light of what happened with Dunn many on this board will try to see the worst in every decision the Nats make but sometimes their hands are tied. While not all decisions they make are good ones and they need to open the pursestrings more it doesn't mean players like this can hold the team over a barrel.

Posted by: SCNatsFan | December 3, 2010 12:38 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't take the risk of arbitration with someone set to make about $800K, someone with a 2.02 ERA? Seems like a small risk.

Posted by: Dogface13 | December 3, 2010 12:56 PM | Report abuse

They let him walk away because him hitting 25 meaningless homeruns when your down 7-2 are just that meaningless. Oh and the fact that they're down 7-2 because of a single that 80% of the other 1b in this league would get to extended the inning. They also let him go because half of the infields errors were a result of him not being able to pick it. They let him go because he's pklayed on exactly 1 winning club. They let him go because of those 40 homeruns probably 5 were in big situations. They let him go because they lost 100 games with him (and would have had the same record without him. That's why they let him go. He's a modern day Frank Howard and a fan favorite because he hits long HR's. Some people would rather see Homeruns rather then building a club that can win. Dunn is a DH, not an NL 1st basemen.

Posted by: JDB1 | December 3, 2010 1:02 PM | Report abuse

Peralta ends up with the Nats on a split contract with a spring training invite and ends up with the big club after bouncing around for his career.

Is there any chance that he'd get more than say... $1.2M in arbitration? I don't blame the guy for asking for a 2 year deal, but he had no leverage. Take him to arb, it's a 1 year deal, and make a fair offer. If Peralta asks for >$2M in arb, no way he gets it.

Posted by: comish4lif | December 3, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm with Dogface on this. Isn't arbitration only a risk if you're undervaluing a player? As I understand the process, the team says "We think you're worth X based on the market." The player says, "I think I'm worth Y based on the market." The arbitrator picks X or Y, based on their unbiased view of the market.

So basically the Nats were afraid they'd have to pay market value for a reliever, as opposed to "Lerner" value for a reliever.

What am I missing?

Posted by: wahoo2x | December 3, 2010 1:04 PM | Report abuse

This explanation is a load of B.S. As a native Montrealer who has followed this club since their inception and attendng >70 games a year at Jarry Park and the Olympic Stadium with my fathers seasons tickets tnrough the 70s and 80s, I have seen just aout everything bad that a baseball organization could do.

The comparison between Peralta and MacDougal is non-existent. Peralta is simply one of those guys who put it together later in his career. Outstanding control and good stuff - he was no fluke. With MacDougal, you never knew what was coming in terms of his control. Totally inconsistent with a wind-up fraught with problems. He was a bad investmant, while Peralta was not. The Lerners are too much.

Posted by: hersheyman | December 3, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

If Peralta was only going to get a 1 year deal from the Nats, which makes sense from the Nats' persepctive I agree, he had to check out the market for other 1 year deals anyway. The Nats could have locked him up and decided, this is less a Joel leaving for hopefully greener pastures story as it is a club not looking to overspend on a guy.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 3, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

I am disappointed by the failure to re-sign Dunn. I can stay on board with this if they follow through and sign (or trade for) a player, or combination of players, that upgrades the defense at first while simultaneously replacing at least some of Dunn's offense. I'm not sure it's possible to do that given the free agents available, the likelihood of getting them here and the assets we have to trade. Which is why I advocated re-signing Dunn despite his deficiencies -- I didn't see anything better out there. Rizzo needs to prove me wrong if he wants to see me at the park more than 2-3 times in 2011.

Posted by: BobLHead | December 3, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Peralta may have been screwed by the White Sox non-tendering Bobby Jenks yesterday. Perhaps Rizzo figures that the money not spent on Peralta in arbitration could be better used in signing Jenks, in another Matt Capps kind of move. Besides, if Peralta really wants to cash in as a reliever, he needs to grow some wacko or menacing facial hair. Any reliever who can't figure that out has no business demanding a two year deal.

Posted by: FeelWood | December 3, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

The Nats probably offered Peralta the minimum for one year. Every move they make reeks with cheapness. After I heard on XM Radio that Nats Asst GM and VP for Player Development Bob Boone was spending the winter working in his carpet store to augment his income nothing will surpise me about the ulimate cheapness of this sad sack franchise.

Posted by: bupbups | December 3, 2010 1:24 PM | Report abuse

JDB1 -- that is some delusional, sour grapes stuff. Dunn played well here, and he played up to or better than expected on most fronts, but now he's gone. The Nats are going in a different direction, which is fine. They did not owe him anything and he owed them nothing either, neither party has an axe to grind against the other, really. But Nats management does owe the fans something in terms of actually building a club that can win - something they have not yet done.

They did not want Dunn, so now we will see what they come up with. The pressure is on Rizzo and the Lerners to produce those pieces they said they would add. The time is now. Four years of building it is supposed to -- by Rizzo's statements -- take a big leap forward this off season. I am excited to see what they deliver.

Posted by: dfh21 | December 3, 2010 1:30 PM | Report abuse

I believe that you asked for an explanation and that these are the words they said, but I don't think this really is "The Joel Peralta non-tender explained." It explains why they didn't sign him to a multi-year deal, but it doesn't explain why the team wouldn't be willing to go to arb with him.

I don't actually have a problem with the non-tender, just saying it hasn't been explained.

Posted by: sbiel2 | December 3, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

think fans have to recognize just how awful these owners are

Jeffrey Loria is cheap, but he's also figured out how to win without spending, in part by bringing in solid front office people, the Lerners hire bargain basement front office and managerial staff, and no one seems to care if they don't produce.

This is the worst run teams in baseball, and Harper/Strasburg/Zimmerman/whoever won't change that before they become Yankees. However, new ownership would, but that's not happening anytime soon.

Posted by: tgt111 | December 3, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

I'm disappointed they didn't resign Dunn but, not surprised. I'm hopeful that Rizzo can work some magic here and replace Dunn and add some pieces to get us closer to being a ML franchise.

Time for old cheapass Uncle Teddy to dig deep into his pockets and pull out some cash, rather than a piece of lent or a candy wrapper for a change.

Come on you cheap SOB, time to step up!!!

Posted by: Section505203 | December 3, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

"The Nationals decided they couldn't take that risk, or the chance of going into arbitration with him, so they non-tendered him."

Adam, I don't understand what you are trying to convey here: if the Nationals were willing to give him a guaranteed 1 year deal, then what risk would there be of going to arbitration with him? That he might get 800k- 1.0 million in arbitration. Sadly that amount is chump change in professional baseball and not enough of a fear not to bring back such a productive pitcher.

Penny wise and pound foolish-

Posted by: S2DU | December 3, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

Rizzo made the right call on this one, plus he's proven that he can find relievers to fill out a good bullpen year-to-year. Guys like Peralta are a roll of the dice, investments in older middle relievers rarely pan out. Plus, with this team, it looks as though some of our 'starters' may end up better suited to middle relief.

Posted by: Bog_Reader | December 3, 2010 3:07 PM | Report abuse

JDB1 - I did a quick search on baseball reference to see how much his hitting helped us last season.

Dunn homered in 23 wins, 8 losses. And half those losses were one or two runs. So no, he's not just hitting homers when we're down 7-2.

Eight times, Dunn homered, we won, and batted in more or as many runs as the margin of victory.

For seven MORE wins, Dunn didn't homer, but still batted in more or as many runs as our margin of victory.

Overall, he had 103 RBI - 1 walk-off, 48 go ahead RBI, 8 tying RBI.

So I'd say his hitting helped us win baseball games.

Posted by: 202character | December 3, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

JDB1 - Your imagination is really getting the best of you. I wasn't aware that every HR each player hit was meaningful. In fact, over time, statistics would probably bare out that most people hit the same amount of "meaningful" and "meaningless" home runs. So yeah, when a guy has the 2nd most bombs in the league behind Pujols since '04 thats pretty damn impressive and helpful. Who do you suggest fill the void in the lineup now that Dunn is gone? I hate to break it to you, but 40HR/100RBI bats aren't exactly clamoring to come to this franchise, with cheap ownership that hasn't exactly shown the savvy to put together a winner on a small-time budget.

Look, the point is, all of this has been said before on this board in the last few days. But, if you think Dunn (who actually played at near the league average in defense at 1st) was the reason we were always down, you're nuts. How about the awful rotation we had? I guess if Dunn were a gold glover then Jason Marquis wouldn't have had a 45 ERA.

By your logic, Dunn is actually at fault that his HRs were meaningless because of his defense? Do you even realize how asinine that is?

Posted by: Imjustlikemusiq | December 3, 2010 3:21 PM | Report abuse

JBD1 - sorry to pile on, but here's his 38 homers last year.

1 walk-off (directly won the game)
18 go-ahead (big situation)
2 tying (another big situation)

on the other hand
2 homers when we were down by more than 2 runs
3 homers when we were ahead by more than 2 runs

The other 33 were all in close games.

So go ahead and remember 25 useless home runs if you want to. That's not the way it happened.

Posted by: 202character | December 3, 2010 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't resist

Albert Pujols

42 home runs
0 walk off
14 go-ahead
3 tying

So Pujols hit more homers than Dunn, and fewer clutch homers.

Are you really going to say Pujols isn't a valuable hitter?

Posted by: 202character | December 3, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

5 homers ahead by more than 2
7 homers down by more than 2
30 homers in close games

Posted by: 202character | December 3, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

"Some people would rather see Homeruns rather then building a club that can win."

You realize, of course, that there's a real good chance that we're probably not going to see either for the near future, right?

Posted by: baltova1 | December 3, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

202--thanks for that research. Now I feel SO much better about losing Dunn!

SCNatsfan: You are right that after the Dunn fiasco most posters here will not give the Lerners the benefit of the doubt on anything. Then again, the cheap SOBs do not deserve the benefit of the doubt on anything, so that seems fair. However, I don't blame Rizzo, his hands are tied by the cheapskates.

Posted by: NatsFly | December 3, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

No, I don't blame Rizzo. This is all Lerners. They kept Kasten around during the building phase, then dumped him when they got to the more expensive "contending" phase of his plan.

Take it from RZ: "I think myself, including the fans and a lot of other people, are wondering and hoping that the plan is there,"

Posted by: 202character | December 3, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

"JBD1 - sorry to pile on, but here's his 38 homers last year.

1 walk-off (directly won the game)
18 go-ahead (big situation)
2 tying (another big situation)

on the other hand
2 homers when we were down by more than 2 runs
3 homers when we were ahead by more than 2 runs

The other 33 were all in close games."

By your math, Dunn hit 59 HRs last year. You don't perhaps work for the Post, do you? If not, maybe you should apply. They seem to like hiring people who can't do math.

Posted by: FeelWood | December 3, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

FeelWood--33+3+2=38, which is the number of HR Dunn hit last year. I believe you misread 202's post. 202 was giving two different ways to present Dunn's stats, separated by the phrase "on the other hand".

Posted by: NatsFly | December 3, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Those aren't mutually exclusive categories, FeelWood.

2+3+33 = 38 game situations when the 38 homers were hit.

Of those 38, 1 was a walk-off homer, 18 gave the Nationals the lead, 2 tied the game.

Shouldn't be that confusing.

If I told you Dunn hit 20 homers at home, 18 on the road, 29 against righties, 9 against lefties, would you think he hit 76 homers?

Posted by: 202character | December 3, 2010 4:27 PM | Report abuse

I don't fault their decision on this, but considering they didn't sign Dunn this guy wasn't going to break the bank!

Posted by: Beltwayboy7 | December 3, 2010 6:50 PM | Report abuse

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