The St. Louis Cardinals have a new shortstop, and he’s a definite offensive upgrade over former first round selection Pete Kozma.
Last season, Jhonny Peralta was an American League All-Star while hitting .303 in 448 plate appearances including 11 HR and 55 RBI. Throughout his career, Peralta has an On Base Percentage north of .300 in every season except for his rookie campaign back in 2003.
By making this move, the Cards officially sacrificed defensive range to get some more pop into their lineup, but when taking all factors into account this was the clear way to go for the organization.
The team didn’t have to trade any of their young pitching, or either of their two main young hitters in Oscar Taveras or Matt Adams. Mozeliak has long said that he likes to collect talent, and this was the avenue to ensure that his collection will stay intact. From that standpoint, it’s a win.
They also didn’t sign a player with draft compensation implications, like Stephen Drew, to fill the offensive production void at SS. Doing so would have cost them their first round draft choice, and would have kept Mozeliak from being able to add to his expansive talent collection. From that standpoint, it’s a win.
One final important on field positive that Peralta brings to the club is that he provides right hand balance to the projected infield. If all goes according to plan, the starting infield is going to be three fifths left-handed at the plate with Adams at first, Wong at second, and Carpenter at third. It was important that Mozeliak found a player that could provide some right hand balance to accompany Molina in the infield. From that standpoint, it’s a win.
The only true downside of this deal is probably the negative public relations hit that the club will endure by signing a player that has been busted for his use of performance enhancing drugs, but at this point the Cards must believe that it’s behind him or they never would have shelled out the 4 year / 52 million dollar deal it took to secure his services. Reinforcing that point, John Mozeliak was on the St. Louis AM radio airwaves this morning, and he said it’s the club’s belief based off their exhaustive research that this was a one-time error in judgment, and it’s his hope that the lesson has been learned.
One thing is certain, the Cards learned their lesson last season that a light hitting, defensive minded, shortstop wasn’t going to get the job done going into next year. They aggressively addressed this deficiency by signing Jhonny Peralta this past week, and after reflecting on all the positives that Peralta brings to the club I’d say that from my standpoint, it’s a win.
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