According to multiple reports, the St. Louis Cardinals have inked shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a 4-year, $52 million deal.
MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon said at 10 a.m. CT time, the Redbirds will introduce their shortstop in a press conference on Monday.
Looking at the circumstances, this was a great move the Cardinals made. The team didn’t have to give up anything, like Ken Rosenthal suggested in his hypothetical of getting Troy Tulowitzki from the Colorado Rockies, a deal which would cost them somebody like a Allen Craig, Shelby Miller, or Trevor Rosenthal, if not all of them.
Pete Kozma played in 143 games in the 2013 regular season. Kozma’s WAR was a -0.2, which would suggest he did not belong in the role he was in. He may have batted .400 against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS, but fell back to earth in the NLCS against the Los Angeles Dodgers (.067) and was 0-10 in the World Series against the Boston Red Sox, not reaching base a single time.
With Peralta, the Cardinals are getting a little bit of pop. He has hit 20 or more home runs four times in his career. Yes, Peralta was suspended for 50 games in his role in the Biogenesis scandal, but Peralta still did well for the Detroit Tigers in the postseason.
By the numbers, he was still better for the Tigers against the Oakland Athletics in the ALDS than Kozma was for the Cardinals. Not to mention, with Kozma’s dip against the Dodgers, it didn’t take much for Peralta to outdo that. He was 6-21 against the Red Sox, which wasn’t out-of-this-world, but respectable enough. The Tigers didn’t need Peralta anymore with AL Rookie of the Year runner-up Jose Iglesias filling that role nicely for them.
The Cardinals batted .269 as a team, which was good enough for fourth in the entire Majors. Adding Peralta to the equation can only help, not hurt them over the next four seasons in that regard. He is not the greatest defender in the world, but 2013 did show signs of improvement on his end compared to year’s past. His fielding percentage this past year was .991, good enough for a career best at his natural position.
If the Cardinals want to get over the hump from the disappointment of the last two years and win the 2014 World Series, I think they took a big step by inking Peralta here.
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