(BaseballStL) — Capping what turned out to be a busy weekend, the Cardinals signed free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year deal on Sunday.
It is reported the club will sign Peralta to a four-year deal worth more than $50 million. The 31-year-old is a significant offensive improvement for St. Louis at shortstop, who hit .303 and slugged .457 while hitting 11 homers and driving in 53 runs in 107 games in 2013.
For his career, Peralta hits .268 and slugs .425. The fact he finished 2013 on a 50 game suspension for his connection to Biogenesis, the anti-aging clinic in Florida linked to PEDs, has led to speculation his 2014 performance will regress to career norms.
Defensively, his range is far less impressive than existing shortstop Pete Kozma, as he posts a career UZR (Ultimate Zone Rating) of -2.8. Kozma’s sits at 9.6, and his defensive runs saved of 9 strongly outpaces Peralta’s -1.
However, even Peralta’s offensive career averages are a significant improvement over Kozma’s bat.
The fact he was a free agent is also an advantage to the Cardinals. Since there was no draft pick attached to Peralta, the signing won’t cost St. Louis a first round pick.
Shortstop has been a seller’s market in the offense, with Stephen Drew standing as perhaps the most attractive option at the spot, but commanding a significant sum of money.
GM John Mozeliak told reporters Friday the four-player trade with the Angels had originally been a much bigger proposal, involving Cardinal pitchers and Los Angeles’ middle infielders.
Signing Peralta allows the club to retain their young talent and future draft picks.