#2: Jhonny Peralta (Third Baseman/Shortstop)
The St. Louis Cardinals shifted around their infield for the 2017 season in order to keep rookie sensation Aledmys Diaz in the lineup without sacrificing playing time for Matt Carpenter or Jhonny Peralta. This resulted in Peralta being moved to third base and Carpenter to first full-time.
Moving Peralta to third base for 2017 is the right move because 1) they are hoping his bat returns to form and 2) there is no everyday alternative with Carpenter at first. Peralta had a bit of a down 2016 season but suffered a thumb injury that directly effected his performance at the plate. Yadier Molina suffered the same injury the year before and rebounded to have his best offensive season since 2013. The Cardinals are hoping that Peralta can rebound in a similar way.
With Carp at first base, the only other players on the roster able to play third base are Jedd Gyorko and Greg Garcia. Both players have proven to be great utility infielders and bats off the bench but neither are everyday players for a team looking to win their division. However, Peralta may still be considered a likely trade candidate because of his contract and age.
Peralta will be a free agent at the end of this season and will also be 35-years old. Cardinals Nation just said goodbye to aging veteran Matt Holliday so to think Peralta will be brought back is foolish. He is almost guaranteed to be a player the St. Louis Cardinals move on from so the question becomes: “When?”
If this season doesn’t go according to plan but Peralta’s bat is back up to speed, he will be an easy asset to move. Similarly to Carlos Beltran last year, the Cardinals could move Peralta to a playoff contender that is looking for an effective bat that is great in the clubhouse and that has playoff experience. Throw in the fact that Peralta isn’t a black hole on the infield and you have a guy that a number of teams would be interested in.