http://www.cleveland.com/tribe/plaindea ... xml&coll=2
"I don't think there's a more important position player, or a more pivotal position player, to our club's success next year than Jhonny Peralta," said Shapiro, Wednesday at the general managers' meetings.
"It would be an extreme challenge for us to be a championship-caliber team with Jhonny playing, offensively and defensively, the way he did last year," Shapiro said. "Shortstop is just too pivotal a position to have that kind of performance."
"I know he didn't make many errors," Shapiro said, "but we went back and watched on video every single ball hit to him all year - and his range was among the worst of any major-league shortstop. There were more balls that an average major-league shortstop needs to get to."
"We don't need him to be something he hasn't been in the past," Shapiro said. "All we need him to be is closer to the player he was in 2005 than he was in 2006. To do that, he has to come to spring training mentally and physically prepared. He has to be better."
"The most encouraging thing was the way Jhonny played the last week of the season. That was the most consistency he showed, offensively and defensively, all year."
If Peralta doesn't rebound, the Indians are in trouble. They've been trying to sign a backup shortstop for protection. Alex Gonzalez wants a four-year deal and Craig Counsell doesn't want to be a utility infielder. Shapiro said he'll try to solve the problem through a trade.
Shapiro and Wedge have been pretty vocal about Peralta, and he really is the only player they seem to publicly show their displeasure over. I don't recall another player in the Wedge/Shapiro Era that has received as much criticism publicly. Sure, BP and Gameboy got some flack, but one was sent packing right away and the other buried in Buff-alo.
While I feel the criticism is warranted, I wonder if this is the right approach. Clearly, with such comments, Peralta is going nowhere anytime soon....if you are considering trading the guy you don't openly state "he was the worst SS in the league last year." Maybe they've tried everything to get this kid going, and are just throwing their hands in the air with him and feel this is the only way they can get a response out of him. We'll see.