The St. Louis Cardinals have several players who will be returning from the disabled list soon and one of these is in his final season that hasn’t started so well. Is it time to cut him loose?
The St. Louis Cardinals took a giant leap of faith when they signed veteran third baseman Jhonny Peralta back in 2013 after his fabled affair with PEDs. This was a departure from the surgically-clean Cardinals of the past (said with tongue firmly pressed in cheek; read: Mark McGwire). And yet, the Cardinals took the risk and received some good years from their then-short stop.
Let’s take a little walk down memory lane for some kinder Peralta days. When Jhonny joined the St. Louis Cardinals in 2013, he was leaving the Tigers with a slash line of .303/.358/.457. These were welcomed numbers for the Cardinals who had been in search of a solid short stop.
In his first season with the Cardinals, Peralta posted a slash not quite as good as his Tigers-departing numbers. His 2014 slash was .263/.336/.443 with thirty-eight doubles and twenty-one home runs; the XBHs were the enticing elements of his repertoire. Keep an eye on these numbers. For those keeping score at home, he also managed to club seventy-five RBI that season too.
2015 was prophesied to be the year when Peralta would settle in with the Cardinals and explode. His numbers did not uphold this promise. In fact, he decreased his doubles count to twenty-six and his home run count to seventeen. If you are keeping score, this meant that in one year he saw his doubles lessen by a count of twelve and his home runs lessen by a count of four.
His 2015 RBIs decreased by four only as well and landed at seventy-one.
2016 was a frustrating season for Peralta. This was the season he barely got to play thanks to a thumb injury (very similar to the injury to Yadier Molina) that put him on the pine in early April. On the positive side, this was reason for the emergence of Aledmys Diaz. Peralta’s 2016 numbers looked like this: .260/.307/.408 (289 at-bats), 17 doubles, 1 triple, 8 home runs, and 29 RBI.
The low numbers in 2016 were often attributed to rehabbing the thumb and thoughts were that 2017 would be a great year for Peralta since he wasn’t needing to rehab anything. Things did not go as planned.
Through a mere twenty-five MLB at-bats, Peralta posted a horrible slash in 2017 of .120/.185/.120. This was when the St. Louis Cardinals got creative and placed him on the disabled list with flu-like symptoms. This allowed them to move players around and promote a few young guys. This was a good move!
OH! One more thing before moving on, Peralta has amassed zero doubles, zero triples, and zero home runs in 2017. That’s for those of you keeping score at home.
Now, Peralta is rehabbing with the Memphis Redbirds where he has appeared in nineteen at-bats. In these, he has managed one double but no home runs. He has accounted for two RBIs but has also struck out five times. This puts his AAA slash at .316/.350/.368.
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Would you promote a player with these numbers if he were on a traditional trajectory? I don’t believe I would. Also, would you promote a player such as this when the current third baseman (Jedd Gyorko) is slashing .333/.390/.620 with eight doubles, one triple, and seven home runs in 108 at-bats? I sure wouldn’t.
So that’s what the St. Louis Cardinals must face: what to do with Jhonny Peralta? This is the final year of his four-year deal and is valued at $10M. Would you pay that figure for a veteran to ride the pine and take random pinch hit at-bats and/or off-day platoons? Would you simply eat the salary and release him?
Or, can you trade him? Wouldn’t it be better to trade Peralta and get value for him? Is there value for him? At this point, it is tough to show value so that’s a struggle, but I think the Cardinals could use him and his veteran package as a piece of some deal. Having said that, I don’t think they will.
All-in-all, I think the time has come (maybe it came earlier and we all missed it) to cut ties with Jhonny Peralta. I honestly believe that the Cardinals have enough money to eat the $10M that is already allocated and let the thirty-four-year-old walk. If he signs with someone else, then so be it and they can have him for free essentially.
I just don’t see him getting any better to the degree of being able to help this team and, quite honestly, he is just holding up a spot on the 40-man roster that could be used for someone like Luis Robert or anyone else.
What do you think? Would you hold onto Peralta or cut him loose? If you cut him, who do you want to take his 40-man roster spot? Send me your thoughts on Twitter and thanks for reading!