Cardinals could be close to signing shortstop Peralta

News-DemocratNovember 23, 2013 

— Rumors of the St. Louis Cardinals signing shortstop Jhonny Peralta picked up steam Saturday night.

Several media outlets reported that the Cardinals were on the verge of an agreement with the 31-year-old free agent, who this season batted .303 with 30 doubles, 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 107 games with the Detroit Tigers.

Peralta reportedly has been seeking a four-year deal worth between $52 million and $56 million. The deal would make sense for the Cardinals, who would be able to retain coveted young pitchers like Trevor Rosenthal, Shelby Miller, Kevin Siegrist, Joe Kelly and Carlos Martinez. All have been in demand in trade talks.

Peralta, a two-time American League All-Star, also would give the Cardinals another right-handed power bat. He has a .268 career average with 156 career home runs, including a personal-best 24 in 2005 with the Indians. Peralta has 78 or more RBIs in five seasons, with a career-high of 89 in 2008 with Cleveland.

Last year, the Cardinals used Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso at shortstop. Neither player provided much offensive help: Kozma batted .217 with one homer and 35 RBIs and Descalso batted .238 with five homers and 43 RBIs.

Peralta would represent a defensive downgrade from Kozma. He possesses below-average range, although he has a reputation for being sure-handed. He also can play left field, third base and first base.

Pending other moves that could be made, the Cardinals' projected lineup has three left-handed hitters: third baseman (Matt Carpenter), second baseman (Kolten Wong) and first baseman (Matt Adams).

Center fielder Jon Jay also bats left-handed, but Jay's playing time likely was diminished Friday when the Cardinals traded third baseman David Freese and reliever Fernando Salas to the Los Angeles Angels for center fielder Peter Bourjos and minor-league outfielder Randal Grichuk.

Peralta, who broke into the major leagues in 2003 with the Cleveland Indians, served a 50-game PED suspension in August and September after he and 11 other players were linked to the Biogenesis clinic in Florida.

Peralta returned for the final three games of the regular season, then played in 10 of the Tigers' 11 postseason games. He batted .333 in the playoffs (11-for-33) with four doubles, one home run and six RBIs. Detroit was eliminated by Boston in the American League championship series.

Contact reporter David Wilhelm at dwilhelm@bnd.com or 239-2665.

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