Tag: Jhonny Peralta

Jhonny Peralta Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star’s Thumb and Return

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta continues to have thumb problems this season, causing him to miss more time. 

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Peralta Placed on DL   

Tuesday, July 19

The Cardinals announced via Twitter that they placed Peralta on the 15-day disabled list and brought up Jeremy Hazelbaker and Miguel Socolovich from Triple-A. 

St. Louis held Peralta out of the lineup on Monday against the San Diego Padres because of his thumb problems. 

“Jhonny’s sore,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said at the time, per David Wilhelm of the Belleville News-Democrat. “We needed to get him out (Sunday). With some of the check swings or the swings and misses, something’s still kind of grabbing there. He had it looked at (Monday), and the doctors can see it’s still flared up a bit.”

Peralta had surgery on his left thumb to repair a torn ligament in March that kept him out until June 7. He’s struggled in the 30 games since his return, hitting just .221/.258/.416. 

MLB.com’s Steve Dorsey reported at the time the three-time All-Star was expected to be out for 10 to 12 weeks:

Peralta’s most recent injury would present a problem for the Cardinals were it not for the emergence of Aledmys Diaz, who has been excellent at shortstop. Diaz is batting .315 with 13 homers and 49 RBI, so Matheny will feel confident installing him back in the lineup to replace Peralta.

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Jhonny Peralta Injury: Updates on Cardinals Star’s Thumb and Return

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta suffered a thumb injury Saturday, which will delay his return from a previous torn ligament in another thumb.  

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Peralta Out for ‘Three or Four Days’

Sunday, May 29

Mark Saxon of ESPN.com reported the shortstop “cut his right thumb while opening a box Saturday.” The shortstop is rehabbing from his previous thumb injury (different thumb) with Double-A Springfield and had to receive three stitches. Saxon noted he will not play for a few days, as “the Cardinals now have ruled out his returning to the majors as soon as Friday because he needs more minor league at-bats.”

It’s been a tough season for Peralta, 34, who missed much of the early portion of the season with a torn thumb ligament. He was expected to be an important contributor for the Cardinals after hitting .275 with 17 home runs and 75 RBI last season, but he hasn’t played for the major league team yet. 

With Peralta injured, Jedd Gyorko and Aledmys Diaz will likely continue to see playing time as they attempt to replicate Peralta’s production.

The loss hurts the Cardinals, however, as Peralta is a nice source of pop in their lineup alongside Matt Holliday and Matt Carpenter. The Cardinals came into the season weakened by the loss of Jason Heyward to free agency; losing Peralta for even more time only compounds that issue.

And it certainly hurts the Cardinals as the team makes its postseason push.


You can follow Timothy Rapp on Twitter.

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Jhonny Peralta Injury: Updates on Cardinals Shortstop’s Thumb and Return

St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta suffered a torn ligament in his thumb on March 5. It required surgery, and it is uncertain when he will be ready to play again.  

Continue for updates.

Peralta Undergoes Surgery

Monday, March 10

Mark Saxon of ESPN.com reported Peralta went under the knife on Thursday and will be in a cast for four weeks. Saxon noted Peralta is “likely” to return closer to the All-Star break.

Peralta Has Been Important Contributor for Cardinals

Peralta is in the midst of his third season with the Cards, and the 33-year-old slugger was named to the All-Star team for the third time in five seasons during the 2015 campaign. He was voted into the starting lineup for the first time in his career.

Peralta ended the season with a .275 batting average, 17 home runs and 71 RBI, and he was a huge reason why the Cardinals were MLB‘s top regular-season team with a record of 100-62.

His production did drop off significantly in the second half, though, as he hit just .243 with four homers in 25 RBI. Even so, he entered the season as one of St. Louis’ key players from an offensive perspective.

While Peralta’s skills are undeniable, one of his most valuable attributes over the years has been his durability. He missed only seven games last season, and prior to the 2016 campaign, he had played in at least 146 contests every year since 2006, with the exception of 2013.

Peralta was suspended 50 games for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal, but he has since managed to bounce back and remove himself from that dark past.

The talented shortstop has been embraced by the fans in St. Louis, and he is viewed as a huge piece of a potential championship puzzle for the Cards.

Losing a player of Peralta’s caliber won’t be easy to overcome, but with utility man Jedd Gyorko now in the fold, the Cardinals may be equipped to make due without Peralta until he is healthy to return.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Johnny Damon Hits the Nail on the Head with PED Talk

After an 18-year career in the majors, Johnny Damon feels he was forced to leave the game of baseball before he was ready to hang up the spikes. The reason for that, according to Damon, is because he never used performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).

In an interview with 810 CBS Sports, the 40-year-old was asked to consider his place in baseball history. In addition to the stats and the accolades, Damon said the following should be considered:

I played it clean. That’s what everybody’s going to be looking at. I think I’m one of the only players to come out and say, “I guarantee you there is nothing I’ve done that enhanced my baseball career.”

Over the course of those 18 years, Damon played with a handful of notable players tied to PED use. To name a few: Manny Ramirez, Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Andy Pettitte, David Ortiz, Roger Clemens, Magglio Ordonez and Gary Sheffield. 

He makes an interesting case for his enshrinement amongst baseball’s greats. With 2,769 hits, a .284 average, 1,139 RBI and two World Series championships (2004 and 2009), Damon certainly had an above-average career with the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Tampa Bay Rays and Cleveland Indians. With no evidence or speculation contradicting his claimed cleanliness, he might just have a case for Cooperstown. 

However, that debate is for another day. The rest of the interview was far more notable and worth talking about, as Damon looked at more than his own career, focusing on some of the problems with Major League Baseball as the game tries to move past the PED era:

The game today, it’s a slap on the wrist for people, and it sends a bad message to kids, the families. You can’t fault someone who has a chance to make $20 million, $50 million, $100 million for going against the system to get to where they are. You can’t fault them.

There are certain guys who cheated the system and they’re still being patted on the back. That’s not great for our kids, especially my son. He’s playing high school baseball now and these kids are very influenced, and if you tell a kid, “You do something and you’re going to have a chance to make $100 million,” people are going to sign up.

I don’t want my son or anybody else’s kid to get involved with it. But it seems like Major League Baseball is allowing it.

Now, who might Damon be talking about? Who fits that mold of getting a slap on the wrist for cheating the system? A few players come to mind, including Jhonny Peralta, Nelson Cruz and Melky Cabrera.

After being suspended 50 games in 2013 as part of the Biogenesis scandal, Peralta signed a lavish four-year, $53 million contract with the St. Louis Cardinals this past winter. Cruz, who was also suspended as a part of the scandal, signed a more modest but still generous one-year, $8 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles. And after being suspended 50 games as a member of the 2012 San Francisco Giants, Cabrera agreed to a two-year, $16 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays.

These players cheated the game, yet following their suspensions, they were welcomed back with open arms and millions of dollars. Damon is right—that does send a bad, bad message, especially to youth ballplayers.

Two of those guys came back to make an average annual salary of $8 million, while the other, Peralta, got over $13 million a year. In what other profession can you break the rules and hurt your organization, yet somehow get such a grand reward? 

Any young ballplayer, whether he be in high school, college, the minors or the 25th man on the big league roster, is looking at these cases and thinking, “Hey, this (PEDs) is worth it. Even if I get in trouble, I’m going to get paid. I could make millions.”

This, as Damon said, is something Major League Baseball needs to look at. The league needs to strengthen its substance-abuse policy, because as much as it says it cares about cleaning up the game, the way Damon and so many others see it, it’s still beneficial for players to cheat. The consequences have yet to outweigh the rewards.

That means going beyond suspensions and public shaming and hitting players where it hurts, their pockets. One way to do this that frequently comes up is to limit suspended players to a certain salary, say the league minimum, come their next free-agent contract. It’s a great idea, one that would truly make players pay for their actions and would tell other players to stay clear of PEDs.

The problem with this is that the player’s union would never agree to it, because, well, there are still cheaters out there. Those cheaters want to get paid if they get caught, just like Peralta, Cruz and Cabrera did.

The best option available, as far as cleaning up the game goes, is for the league, its teams and its players (the clean ones) to take a moral stand against PED use. Back in November the Arizona Diamondbacks made headlines for their tendency to avoid players with ties to PEDs.

Arizona’s Brad Ziegler made his personal thoughts known as well following the Peralta signing:

This is what Major League Baseball needs. More players, active ones, have to come out and shame those who disparage the game of baseball. More teams have to refuse to bring these guys aboard. The suspensions do no good if teams are still lining up to pay the cheaters.

Damon is on to something here. Baseball is sending mixed messages about the pitfalls of PED use. Getting caught is not teaching players the lesson the league wants them to learn. It’s time the MLB as a whole got on the same page and started sending the right message.

There can be no reward for cheating the game.


All stats were obtained via Baseball-Reference.

Question or comments? Feel free to follow me on Twitter @GPhillips2727 to talk the Yankees and Major League Baseball.

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Peralta, Wong Give St. Louis Cardinals Talented Tandem

It’s been a revolving door at shortstop and second base for the St. Louis Cardinals for a decade. Yet, the lack of continuity at those positions hasn’t hindered on-field success. The Cards have reached four World Series and won two titles since 2004 while often employing a little more than utility players at each spot.

In 2014, the Redbirds will look to end the yearly duct-tape job up the middle by pairing rookie second baseman Kolten Wong with free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta.

Peralta signed a four-year deal early in free agency. Around the same time, the Cardinals made a trade that essentially handed the starting job to Wong.

The Cardinals haven’t had the same second base/shortstop starting combination for consecutive years on Opening Day since Fernando Vina and Edgar Renteria shared the stage together from 2000-03.

How ironic that a franchise once blessed with cornerstone players up the middle in Tom Herr and Ozzie Smith would get by with stopgap options for so long.

Having two impact players in the middle of the diamond would be a welcome twist. Since 2008, Cesar Izturis, Khalil Greene, Brendan Ryan, Ryan Theriot, Rafael Furcal and Pete Kozma have started Opening Day at short.

Adam Kennedy, Ryan, Skip Schumaker (twice) and Daniel Descalso (twice) have received that same honor at second.

Not exactly Robinson Cano and Troy Tulowitzki.

In fairness, they haven’t been stiffs. Each one made an impact, especially in the postseason.

Whether it’s Kozma’s and Descalso’s timely hits in the 2012 National League Division Series, Schumaker’s double in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS, or Furcal’s glove work in that same contest, they all played a role in St. Louis’ tremendous run of success.

Entering the offseason on the heels of a disappointing loss to the Boston Red Sox in the Fall Classic, shortstop was the only glaring weakness for a Cardinals squad loaded with talent and depth.

Kozma, even with his occasional heroics and stellar defense, wasn’t hitting enough to justify a full-time gig. Among National League shortstops with at least 300 at-bats last season, he ranked last with a .273 on-base percentage while slugging a hideous .548. As much as his defense was an asset, his bat was a greater detriment.

On too many nights, there were two automatic outs at the bottom of the Cards’ lineup.

So the St. Louis front office went shortstop shopping equipped with financial flexibility and a surplus of trade chips. Quickly turned off by an unappealing market, general manager John Mozeliak looked to the free agent class. Before Thanksgiving, he had his man, inking Peralta to a four-year, $52 million contract.

“We knew center field was very important, but the shortstop market on the other hand was one that was not deep in free agents,” Mozeliak told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com at the time of the signing. “There were really two being bantered about us. For us, it was really focusing on someone who could hit from the right side, somebody that was a steady defensive player, someone that had experience and could fit right in. We certainly explored the trade market at many levels, trying to see what we could do there, but the acquisition costs seemed very preventative for us to move forward with that.”

But Peralta would travel to St. Louis carrying more than just his consistent bat and solid glove. He brought along baggage in the form of the 50-game suspension he served last season with the Tigers as the result of Major League Baseball’s Biogenesis investigation.

Since signing with the Cardinals, Peralta has said all the right things. Teammates have given him a clean slate.

“I know a lot of fans are going to say a lot of things,” Peralta explained to Paul White of USA Today. “It’s baseball, man. You need to forget about it and play baseball. We’ll move forward and try to forget about it.”

Cards fans, widely regarded as the most respectful and knowledgeable in baseball, have embraced Peralta. The faithful who fill Busch Stadium nightly won’t ask for much, just an honest effort and respect for a team and game they love dearly.

It’s the perfect situation for Peralta. He’ll play for a perennial winner in a town where the fans will cut him some slack. He’ll get the benefit of the doubt. The past is in the past.

Peralta is a .268 career hitter who’s never hit fewer than 10 home runs in a full season. He has four campaigns of 20 or more homers to his credit—the last coming in 2011.

According to FanGraphs, Peralta had a UZR (Ultimate Zone Ranking) of 3.5 last season in Detroit. Kozma’s 6.7 UZR in 2013 speaks to his defensive brilliance, but it also illustrates how competent Peralta is with the glove.

Peralta’s presence gives the Cardinals their best all-around shortstop since Renteria left in 2005. His new double-play partner, the rookie from Hawaii, could give the Redbirds fans a dynamic tandem at second and short like they haven’t seen since the days of Herr and The Wizard.

Wong has plus skills across the board. Defense may be his calling card, but he also possesses great speed and some pop.

The ability Wong showed in the minors gave Mozeliak the confidence to deal hometown favorite David Freese to the Los Angeles Angels, allowing Matt Carpenter to slide from second to third.

Wong struggled to display any of those abilities during last season’s September call-up. He had the entire offseason to marinate on that embarrassing pickoff to end Game 4 of the World Series.

“I didn’t do anything to make people believe that I’m ready to be there. I know that,” Wong told Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch before spring training. “All of the games, all of the time I had and I didn’t prove it to people that I’m ready. … That showed me that I had a lot of work left to do to be ready to compete. That’s what I’m doing. I want to make sure this time, going into spring, that’s not the case, that there’s not a question.”

Then in December, Wong had to deal with the passing of his mother, Keala Wong, who lost her long battle with cancer. He came to spring training in Jupiter adorned with a new tattoo to honor his mom.

“It’s something that I’m proud of,” Wong shared with Goold. “This means everything to me.”

Wong went to work, eager to prove he belonged in the big leagues. He was determined to earn the starting assignment rather than being the beneficiary of trade circumstances.

Since starting the Grapefruit League 0-for-10, Wong is one of the hottest hitter in spring training. He’s batting .565 since, with two homers and eight RBI.

A week after talk of Wong possibly starting the season in Triple-A, he’s cemented his place on the Opening Day roster.

Wong and Peralta will take the field side by side in Cincinnati for their first Opening Day together. The Cardinals hope it’s the start of something special.

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Signing of Jhonny Peralta Is Bad for Baseball

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was the first to report that the St. Louis Cardinals had signed free agent Jhonny Peralta to a contract pending a team physical.

Fox Sports’ Jon Morosi was the first to report that it was a four-year deal that was just north of $52 million. Heyman later tweeted that the deal was going to be for $53 million. 

Peralta receiving $53 million from any team in MLB is a bad sign, especially when it comes from one of the marquee franchises in baseball. It pays to use PEDs in baseball. Even if you get caught, teams will still be willing to pay millions if the numbers are good. 

MLB and commissioner Bud Selig spent a lot of time investigating the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic in Florida. The investigation led to the suspension of 13 players listed in this report by Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown, including Peralta, who acknowledged taking PEDs. All 13 players received 50-game suspensions that they started serving immediately in order to complete them by the end of last season. 

Alex Rodriguez was also charged in this investigation and was given a 211-game suspension, something that he is still in the process of fighting with baseball. 

The 31-year-old Peralta is an average player who has had two above-average seasons recently in 2011 and 2013. It begs the question of when Peralta started using and if his improved numbers are solely driven by using PEDs.

In baseball’s quest to wrap up the Biogenesis investigation in a neat bow, it allowed players who served their 50-game suspensions last season to come back in time for the playoffs. Peralta came back for the Detroit Tigers and was one of their best hitters, hitting a combined .333 in the playoffs. 

Imagine if Peralta had managed to propel the Tigers to a World Series victory after serving a 50-game suspension. It would have only managed to further embarrass baseball when the focus should be on the greatness of the sport.

Peralta’s signing sends a bad signal to the rest of baseball. Cheat, be momentarily embarrassed but hit it rich when you come back. The Cardinals should want no part of adding Peralta to their young locker room. Instead, they are welcoming him with open arms. 

Until baseball understands that they need to start hitting the players where it really hurts, in the wallet, nothing is going to change. Players need to face stiffer suspensions, face postseason bans and teams should be allowed to opt-out of contracts with players who are suspended. 

Players who are suspended should also have limits on the length of contract and amount of money that a player can make after receiving a suspension from baseball. Those may sound too harsh, but until the suspensions become real deterrents, players are still going to find ways to cheat, because the benefits still outweigh the negatives. 

Cheating still pays. It’s the only message that you can see from Peralta’s contract. One that other players and fans can easily see. 


Information used from Jon Heyman/CBS Sports, Jon Morosi/Fox Sports, Jon Heyman/CBS Sports, Baseball Reference, Tim Brown/Yahoo Sports

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Does Jhonny Peralta’s Contract Give MLB Players More Incentive to Cheat?

Cheaters never prosper, Mom and Dad always said. Boy, were they wrong.

By now, no doubt, you’ve heard about the four-year, $52 million contract the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to with shortstop Jhonny Peralta, according to multiple reports.

Yep, that would be the same Jhonny Peralta who just served a 50-game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis performance-enhancing drug scandal at the tail end of the 2013 season, only to return in time for the playoffs and perform productively.

So, then, cheaters can prosper, it seems.

No wonder the news drew the ire of some in and around Major League Baseball, including a pair of relief pitchers: Brad Ziegler of the Arizona Diamondbacks and free agent David Aardsma.

There’s something to the sentiment—the anger, the frustration, the helplessness—projected by Ziegler’s and Aardsma’s tweets. It does, after all, feel wrong, or at least a little icky, that someone who broke the rules (and very recently so) should more or less be rewarded in the end.

In fact, the fervor rose to such a crescendo over a player whose contract essentially justified his doing something that by his own admission was wrong—Peralta copped to a “terrible mistake” after his August suspension—that his new general manager had to come out and defend the decision to hand out the contract.

Here are Cardinals GM John Mozeliak’s words (h/t ESPN):

Character and makeup are something we weigh into our decision-making. In his case, he admitted what he did, he took responsibility for it. I feel like he has paid for his mistakes, and obviously if he were to make another one, then it would be a huge disappointment.

So Mozeliak acknowledged the concerns others expressed. He also said, “You do need a deterrent, and right now 50 games does not seem to be necessarily stopping it.”

Therein lies the problem.

The point is, people shouldn’t be mad at Mozeliak and the Cardinals. If not him and them, some other GM of some other team would have given Peralta nearly the same deal (or maybe an even more lucrative one). That’s a guarantee.

And while Peralta is at fault for his indiscretion, it’s also likely that most people reading this would have done the same thing in his shoes, if their career and livelihood—and millions and millions of dollars—were on the line.

Plus, it’s not like Peralta was rewarded for cheating. The Cardinals didn’t go, “Oh, hey, Jhonny, we’re gonna give you a million dollars for every game you were banned, plus two for good luck!” No, he was rewarded with payment based on both his career and expected future production, as well as the timing and circumstances of the market for the services of a player at a premium position that is incredibly challenging to fill.

Instead, the problem lies with the system. Peralta’s contract—along with the one Melky Cabrera signed last winter and the one Nelson Cruz will land at some point in the near future—proves that baseball’s drug program, while vastly improved over the past decade and arguably the toughest among the four major pro sports, still needs some reworking.

Ziegler, the Diamondbacks’ player rep, pointed out as much in a follow-up message:

Until something changes on the penalty front in baseball, there will still be incentive for players to skirt, bend or full-out cheat the rules, particularly when money is involved.

Maybe that means 100-game suspensions for a first-time offense. Maybe it should be an entire season. Or maybe teams should be able to work in some sort of language into contracts to withhold or dock pay if a player tests positive. Heck, maybe even teams should get hit with some kind of penalty if they sign a player with a positive test in his past.

All of that, though, is for the players union and the league to decide. And that, folks, will be one hard-fought battle on both sides, even though the overwhelming sentiment among players these days seems to be that cheating ain’t cool, bro.

If it’s not clear by now that the system and penalties need to be addressed, consider one final thought.

Here’s how you know something’s wrong: A solid but unspectacular player like Peralta would have hurt his free-agent value more had he been tendered and rejected a qualifying offer by his former team—and thus cost the Cardinals their precious first-round draft pick—than he did for, oh, merely being suspended as a part of a wide-ranging PED scandal that sullied an entire sport.

Better not tell Mom and Dad.

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Where Does Jhonny Peralta Fit on the MLB Free-Agent Market?

There’s a player on the free-agent market who has a history at a premium position, is coming off a season in which he hit over .300 and is still in multiyear contract territory at 31 years of age.

You’d think that this guy would be one of the biggest no-brainers for a big contract. Instead, he’s probably the hardest guy to figure of anybody out there in the free-agent waters.

We can now lift the veil of obscurity and reveal this player to be Jhonny Peralta. Since you read the title of this article, you obviously knew that. I’ll also venture a guess that you’ve stumbled across this article because of all the recent chatter involving Peralta. It seems his name is everywhere all of a sudden.

It helps to be linked to both New York clubs. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported earlier this month that Peralta had met with the Mets. Jon Morosi of FoxSports.com reported the Yankees’ interest in Peralta.

Elsewhere, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has mentioned the Seattle Mariners as a possible fit. According to Morosi, the Baltimore Orioles are the latest team to join the fray, and they’re doing so with a twist:

That the Orioles are looking at Peralta as a left fielder is an interesting wrinkle. He’s a shortstop by trade, and he only played left field at the end of 2013 because the Detroit Tigers needed third base for the slugging Miguel Cabrera and shortstop for the slick-fielding Jose Iglesias.

But then, maybe Peralta’s not a shortstop or a left fielder. Maybe he’s a third baseman. He’s played 213 career games at the position, and it’s his ability to play the hot corner that inspired FoxSports.com to highlight him as a potential stand-in for Alex Rodriguez in The Bronx. If the veteran slugger is lost for 2014 as a result of that ongoing thing he’s dealing with, of course.

Another interesting wrinkle? Peralta’s price tag. It’s pretty big, and there are apparently teams willing to meet it.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reported a while back that Peralta was looking for $45 million over three years. The New York Post’s Joel Sherman says the actual numbers in Peralta’s mind are much bigger:

Seems like a lot doesn’t it? Surely nobody out there is going to be willing to come anywhere even close to those numbers, right?

Well, you’d be surprised. Here’s Peter Gammons:

Four years at $13 million per year comes out to $52 million. That’s pretty close to that four-year, $56 million range that Sherman floated.

Surprised? So was I at first. That does seem like a lot of money for a guy like Peralta, who has the general look and feel of a walking pile of puzzle pieces.

But if you venture to put the pieces together, the interest in Peralta does begin to make sense.

At first glance, it seems like foolishness to pay $50 million for Peralta. That reeks of paying for his contract-year performance.

He definitely did have a good season offensively, hitting .303/.358/.457 with 11 home runs in 107 games. According to FanGraphs, the only shortstop (minimum 400 plate appearances) with a bigger wRC+ in 2013 was Troy Tulowitzki.

But behind all this is Peralta’s track record, which isn’t so great.

Per FanGraphs, Peralta owns a 102 wRC+ for his career. Per Baseball-Reference.com, he owns a 101 OPS+ for his career. Since 100 signifies average for both statistics, Peralta’s only been a slightly above-average hitter throughout his career.

On top of that complication is Peralta’s sheer inconsistency over the past five seasons:

In three out of the past five seasons, Peralta has been a below-average hitter. Simple as that. And while he did rebound in 2013, it’s hard not to notice that he did it despite his lowest walk-to-strikeout ratio of the past five seasons and with a grossly inflated .374 BABIP.

The strikeouts are concerning. Peralta’s 21.9 K% was his highest since 2007, and it was no accident. His swinging-strike percentage in 2013 was 11.0. That was a two-percent increase on 2011 and 2012.

As for that BABIP, well, the conventional wisdom is that what goes up comes down. Peralta’s career BABIP is .315, so .374 does look like a mark that can’t possibly last.

This, however, is where we find another interesting wrinkle in the curious case of Jhonny Peralta.

Hitters don’t have a ton of control over whether or not balls in play find the holes in the defense, but they can control how they hit the ball. And in 2013, Peralta did do one thing better than he had ever done: hit line drives.

Via FanGraphs, here’s how Peralta’s LD% has progressed since he became a full-time player in 2005.

Line drives are good, see. They’re the kind of batted ball that’s most likely to go for a hit. The league’s top BABIP merchants tend to hit a lot of line drives. That’s what Peralta was doing in 2013.

What’s equally encouraging is how Peralta was picking up so many line drives. Per Brooks Baseball, he hit both fastballs and breaking balls on a line at a rate he hadn’t done in years. Given how hard of a time he’d been having hitting breaking balls on a line in recent seasons, it’s clear that some sort of adjustment was made.

So that .374 BABIP of Peralta’s? Yeah, it was a bit inflated. And yeah, it will be coming down. But since 2013 wasn’t a same-old-same-old kind of year for him, it’s fair to doubt if his .315 BABIP really works as a baseline for what his performance should be heading forward. If he keeps producing line drives at the rate he did in 2013, his baseline BABIP will be higher and will serve as a solid floor for his offensive production.

Elephant in the room? Oh, right. Elephant in the room.

Yes, Peralta was suspended for 50 games as a result of the Biogenesis investigation. And yes, that suspension did cast the numbers he was putting up in a negative light.

But it’s possible to play devil’s advocate here. By the time the Miami New Times introduced everyone to Biogenesis, the clinic was already closed. That was in January. The season began in April. There is a reasonable doubt that Peralta’s ties to the clinics had nothing to do with his 2013 season.

So those teams that are apparently willing to pay Peralta over $50 million in a four-year pact? Based on how he succeeded in 2013 and where Biogenesis is in his timeline, their confidence isn’t entirely unjustified. 

Now then, about Peralta’s glove…

Peralta doesn’t have the look of a guy who should be playing shortstop on a full-time basis. He’s listed at 6’2″ and 215 pounds, making him 45 pounds heavier than fellow 6’2″ shortstop Andrelton Simmons. 

And if we’re being honest, Peralta doesn’t pass the eye test as a particularly appealing shortstop. Watch him play, and you’ll marvel neither at his range, nor his hands, nor his arm strength.

But you know what? Peralta’s really not too shabby of a shortstop.

That’s the opinion of the defensive metrics, anyway. If we use FanGraphs to take a look at his recent shortstop performances through the eyes of defensive runs saved and ultimate zone rating, we see a defender who, while not necessarily great, is certainly solid.

How exactly does a guy with no eye-popping physical attributes manage solid defensive numbers?

Good question. The most logical explanation is that Peralta has a knack for positioning, and it’s worth noting that he’s made more plays outside of his zone over the past three years than Jose Reyes and Jimmy Rollins. There’s something to be said about his instincts.

Given that Peralta is 31-going-on-32, it’s likely that he only has so many days left at shortstop either way. But since his performances at short aren’t on a clear downward trajectory, a team could conceivably sign him as a shortstop and get one or two more good years out of him there.

As for Peralta serving as a third baseman or a shortstop/third baseman hybrid, that could work too. We know he can still handle short, and he played a decent third base the last time he played there on a regular basis in 2010. His UZR was subpar, but not by much at minus-1.1. His defensive runs saved, however, was on the other side of zero.

As for the idea of Peralta in left field, there’s no way to make any sort of definitive call there. He only played left field for a handful of games at the end of 2013 and barely got any practice in before he found himself playing there in games.

There are, however, a couple of positions where teams can stash lugs who can’t field and get by OK. Along with first base and right field, left field is one of them. Since Peralta’s no lug, he could probably handle left field just fine if given fair enough warning to get some practice in.

So all told, where exactly is Jhonny Peralta’s place on this year’s free-agent market?

Well, he’s a hitter who looks better than his decidedly average track record, which puts him safely in the realm of above-average hitters. He’s also a player who could conceivably start at shortstop, third base or left field, or perhaps hold down a job as a rover between all three. 

A good-hitting, solid-fielding shortstop/third baseman/left fielder? That there’s a player who has his own place on the free-agent market, and one that teams have every right to be interested in.


Note: Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.


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Big Moves Miami Marlins Could Actually Pull off This Offseason

Imagine a scenario where the Miami Marlins calls Jay Z’s sports agency, Roc Nation, and tells him they are prepared to offer All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano the 10-year, $300 milllion contract the New York Yankees aren’t willing to put on the table. 

Roc Nation, surprised but skeptical because of what team is on the other line, decides to tell the Marlins they want $350 million for 10 years. Unfazed, the Marlins says that won’t be a problem. 

By Christmas, Cano signs with the Marlins, and the baseball world is stunned.

Believe it or not, the New York Post’s Joel Sherman thinks the Marlins could be a stealth bidder for Cano because they are further along in their accumulation of young talent, and no owner has proven more impetuous in spending and selling off than Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.

In reality, this scenario is a pipe dream. There’s a better chance the Chicago Cubs will win the 2014 World Series than the Marlins have on spending more than $300 million on one single player. But if the Marlins did pull it off, no one would have seen it coming.

And that’s the point of this exercise, which is we will take a look at what big moves, from least likely to most likely, the “cash-strapped” Miami Marlins could realistically pull off this offseason. 

Begin Slideshow

How the 2013 Postseason Has Changed the MLB Free Agency Picture

The Free Agent Market could be open for business as early as next Monday, and while it had appeared to be shaping up late in the regular season, it turns out that it was far from settled. 

Pricey contract extensions for Hunter Pence and Tim Lincecum, as well as rumored $100 million asking prices for Shin-Shoo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury, indicate that teams may have to ante up big dollars for the best players on the market.  

In addition, several free agents-to-be boosted their stock with strong playoff performances. Others hurt their value by showing that they might not be very good when the games are most important. 

Here’s a look at how the 2013 postseason has changed the playoff picture.


Jacoby Ellsbury: $100 million man

Despite missing nearly three weeks in September with a foot injury, Ellsbury had already done enough to ensure he’d enter the offseason as the top center fielder on the free agent market.

But a $100 million deal, as was suggested by his agent Scott Boras in an interview with CBS Sports last month, seemed steep considering he hadn’t shown the power that made him a finalist for the AL MVP award in 2011. Considering that a similar player, Michael Bourn, got four years and $48 million the previous offseason, a reasonable projection for the 30-year-old Ellsbury would be somewhere around five years and $70 million. 

This is no longer the case, though. Ellsbury, who has been the catalyst for the Sox during their World Series run with a .902 OPS, 17 hits, 11 runs and six stolen bases in 12 games, is doing everything in his power to increase his value.

Pence’s $90 million deal helps, but it’s Ellsbury’s playoff performance that might actually push him into the $100 million territory. 

Carlos Beltran putting injury concerns to rest

Including the playoffs, Beltran has averaged 154 games per season since 2011, his ages 34-36 seasons. After leaving Game 1 of the World Series after robbing a homer with a rib injury, he was back in the lineup for Game 2. He went 2-for-4 with an RBI single to add on to one of the most impressive postseason resume’s of all-time. 

The knee troubles that caused him to miss most of the 2009-2010 seasons appear to be a thing of the past, and he’ll be paid accordingly. It’s his talent on the field that could net him as much as $20 million per season this offseason. It’s his ability to stay on the field—even this late in the season—that will give at least one team enough confidence to give him a three-year deal.


Clutch hitting will overshadow Mike Napoli’s hip condition

There’s no doubt that the degenerative hip condition that caused the Red Sox to pull a three-year, $39 million deal off the table last winter is going to be an issue for Napoli again. But the fact that he started 131 games at first base—his first year as a regular first baseman—and put up impressive numbers during the regular season (.842 OPS, 23 HR, 92 RBI) will make it much less of an issue. 

And if there was still any doubt, consider that the 31-year-old has had several big hits in the postseason, including a game-winning homer against Justin Verlander in the ALCS and a three-run double to open the scoring in the World Series, and he has not been hindered one bit by his hip condition.

The question is no longer whether he’ll get a multi-year deal or not. It’s whether he’ll get two or three years.

Add Brian Wilson to the list of top free agent closers

The former Giants closer didn’t even get a save opportunity during his two-month stint with the Dodgers. But by the playoffs, it was clear that Wilson had returned to form after missing all of 2012 and most of 2013 recovering from Tommy John surgery. 

After allowing just one earned run in 13.2 innings over 18 regular season appearances, the 31-year-old was even better in the postseason. As the primary setup man to closer Kenley Jansen, Wilson pitched six shutout innings with two walks, eight strikeouts, a win and two holds. 

Those might be the last “holds” he records for a couple of seasons. He should land a closer’s gig this winter.


“Left Fielder” Jhonny Peralta near the top of the shortstop and third base markets

Peralta returned from a 50-game P.E.D. suspension late in the season to find he had lost his starting shortstop job to defensive whiz Jose Iglesias. The Tigers needed his bat in the lineup, however, so they got creative. 

For the first time in his professional career, the 31-year-old played in the outfield. He also went 11-for-33 in the playoffs with three doubles and a homer. Does it mean he’ll be recruited as a starting outfielder this offseason? Probably not. But that’s only because several teams will be trying to sign him to be their shortstop or third baseman. 

It’s not exactly the deepest market for those positions, which is why Peralta’s suspension will have limited impact on his value. 

Juan Uribe will be a starting third baseman in 2014

The Dodgers gave Uribe a three-year, $21 million deal after a 2010 season in which he posted a .749 OPS with 24 homers for the Giants. But it’s extremely likely that he may have earned himself that third year or a few more million dollars after some clutch hitting in the playoffs. 

Uribe hit a game-winning homer in the deciding NLCS Game 6 win over the Phillies. He also hit a big three-run homer in Game 1 of the World Series. He didn’t do much else, but his impact was clear in front of a national audience. 

Fast-forward to 2013, and Uribe is coming off of a season in which he posted a .769 OPS with 12 homers and has been named a finalist for the Gold Glove award for third basemen. He came up big again in the playoffs, including another game-winning homer in the deciding game of a series. 

Regardless of how bad he was in 2011-2012 (.552 OPS), Uribe shouldn’t have a hard time finding a starting job in what is a very weak market for third basemen. 

Where have you gone, Edward Mujica? 

A 29-year-old All-Star closer who is coming off of a season in which he saved 37 games, posted a 2.78 ERA and walked only five batters in 64.2 innings should be extremely popular this winter, right? Not so much with Mujica. 

If his own team doesn’t have enough faith to use him in anything more than mop-up duty during the playoffs, why would teams interested in a closer look to Mujica ahead of Wilson, Grant Balfour, Joaquin Benoit, Joe Nathan or Fernando Rodney? 

It’s his own doing after a terrible September (7.1 IP, 9 ER, 18 H), but Mujica’s value has took a tremendous hit in a short amount of time, and the Cardinals aren’t helping by not letting him pitch this postseason.

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