The biggest need for the St. Louis Cardinals for the 2014 season has now been solved with the signing of free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta. According to Jim Bowden of ESPN.com, the deal is for four years and $52 million.
From Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Peralta, 31, will be a clear offensive upgrade at the position the Cardinals have targeted this winter for improvement from outside the organization. The righthanded-hitting Peralta batted .303 with a .457 slugging percentage and 11 home runs in 107 games for the Tigers this past season.
He was an All-Star for a second time, but he finished the regular season with a 50-game suspension from his connection with Biogenesis, the anti-aging clinic in Florida alleged to have provided players with performance-enhancing drugs. He accepted his suspension without appeal.
A few stats on Peralta, all from Mark Tomasik (@RetroSimba) on Twitter:
- In 2013, hit .352 (44-for-125) vs. left-handers and .344 with runners in scoring position (33-for-96).
- Is fifth among active MLB shortstops in career fielding percentage (.980), ahead of Stephen Drew, Brendan Ryan.
- Career batting average vs. these left-handed pitcher: Francisco Liriano (.351), Jon Lester (.333), Scott Kazmier (.421), Mark Buehrle (.298).
- Ranked second in fielding percentage among American League shortstops in both 2011 and 2012. It was .988 both years.
One plus to signing Peralta: the Cardinals upgraded at the position via a free agent who didn’t cost them a draft pick by signing, plus it wasn’t via trade so trading no prospects was necessary.
Yet there also is Twitter reaction from some regarding the Cardinals signing him because of the PED suspension — especially because of this subsequent payday as a result.
Thoughts on the signing?
A victory for the Cardinals in their quest in finding a shortstop. Good signing, John Mozeliak.
This also is a sign that the Cardinals’ organization is less interested in making a sanctimonious stand against someone who, yes, used PEDs, but readily served his just punishment without an appeal.
I’m sure he is a great choice for the position, but I feel.like the Cardinal franchise has taken pride in having clean and trouble free, good role models for our kids etc. I believe in second chances and will stand behind the Cardinals in any decision they make. Go Cards!
Mike, thanks for the comment. Of course the Cardinals want to have clean and trouble free, good role models — but that can definitely be a slippery slope in my opinion. Look at Mark McGwire in his playing days and all the adulation in 1998 especially, from fans and sports media alike.
But, yes, I too believe in second chances and Peralta paid the penalty with his suspension. I also trust John Mozeliak and his judgement. Mo thought enough of Perlata to sign him, which is good enough for me.