The one hole the St. Louis Cardinals were fervently working to fill was at shortstop. Several names had been linked with the Cardinals in potential trade talks, including the likes of Colorado Rockies‘ Troy Tulowitzki, Texas Rangers‘ Elvis Andrus and Baltimore Orioles‘ J.J. Hardy.
The Tulowitzki trade talks disappeared early, though he would have been the perfect acquisition for the Cardinals. Andrus fell off the table when the Rangers acquired Prince Fielder. J.J. Hardy would have been a decent fit, but like Tulo, no deal could be reached. Instead, the Cardinals opted to sign recent PED-user Jhonny Peralta.
Peralta’s .303 batting average in 2013 is an aberration because of his PED use and suspension. Aside from that mark and his 2011 season, Peralta usually only manages a batting average around the .260-.270 mark. Granted, anything is an upgrade to Pete Kozma, but it’s definitely not multi-year deal worthy. Peralta adds no speed as Andrus and Tulo would have, and his questionable drug record make him a misfit in a straight-laced Cardinals organization.
The four-year contract means that he is a member of the Cardinals until he is 36-years-old. That too, is very un-Cardinals like. It seems the St. Louis front office is placing a little too much hope in this ‘change of scenery’ making a big difference on Peralta.
Maybe it does. Maybe Peralta takes the change magnificently and proves that his All-Star season in 2011 wasn’t a fluke. Playing at home at Busch Stadium has been known to bring out the best in people, but signing anyone until they are 36 is a risk. The bottom line is that the Cardinals sorely needed a dynamic, game-changing shortstop but settled on a PED-user with a history of inconsistency.
The move appears to be a rare misstep by the Cardinals organization, especially if they were seriously in talks to nab Tulo, Andrus or Hardy.