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The Detroit Tigers Will Miss Jhonny Peralta If Suspended, but It's the Right Decision by MLB

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Five Shortstop Options the Detroit Tigers Should Explore If Jhonny Peralta is Suspended for PEDs
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Jhonny Peralta greets Don Kelly after Kelly's 2011 homer at Dodger Stadium.

COMMENTARY | It's no secret that Major League Baseball is in the process of suspending several players that were linked in the Biogenesis scandal involving clinic founder Anthony Bosch. There are several big names on the list provided by Bosch, including Detroit Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

Peralta is in the midst of an All-Star season for the Tigers. He's hitting .332 with six home runs and 26 RBIs through June 5. His .383 on base percentage and .878 OPS are currently a career high, while his .495 slugging percentage is above his usual average.

Details of Peralta's possible suspension remain to be seen. The length could be a typical 50-game suspension for first time performance-enhancing drug offenders, or it could be a much harsher 100-game penalty. It's also likely that the suspension process wouldn't be completed before the end of the 2013 season.

Having one of their top hitters suspended for any amount of time would be crushing for the Tigers in their hopes of a third consecutive American League Central title. Peralta is currently second on the team in average and hits, and third in OBP, OPS, and slugging.

Although some fail to admit it, Peralta does provide steady defense at shortstop. Sure, the 31-year-old may never win a Gold Glove award at the position, but he gets the job done throughout the season, and that aspect of his game will surely be missed on a team that's defensively challenged.

The likely interim at shortstop, Ramon Santiago, doesn't nearly provide what Peralta can offensively at the position. Santiago carries a .243 career batting average after serving primarily as a backup allowing middle infielders a day off.

The trade market wouldn't be the ideal place for the Tigers to search for an interim shortstop if they need one. For the price that they'd have to pay in exchange for one, the club can make due with Santiago or other internal options in the meantime.

There's no doubt the Tigers will miss Peralta's impact on the team if he is indeed suspended. Even with superstars Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and the inevitable return of Austin Jackson, there will a void near the bottom of the lineup without Peralta.

However, the Tigers will be fine. They have no need to worry about Peralta's possible absence, even with all the offensive inconsistencies. The team always finds a way to survive, and it helps when you're playing in an extremely weak division like the American League Central.

It's the right decision by Major League Baseball to hand out suspensions if they have enough evidence. This is a move that needs to be made for the sake of the game's integrity, even if it's a light penalty. Strict suspensions, however, will likely put more fear into players and could help turn the page on the performance-enhancing drug era for good.

The Tigers will miss Peralta and his loss will be significant for a team trying to win a championship, but those factors wouldn't nearly match the consequences Major League Baseball would face if they fail to act against the latest performance-enhancing drug phenomenon.

Ricky Lindsay has followed the Detroit Tigers and Major League Baseball with a close eye from Metro Detroit for several years. He's a sportswriter for his college newspaper, The Michigan Journal, and broadcasts games for the Michigan Lightning, a semi-professional football team.

You can find him on Twitter @RLindz35.

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