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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

TCN blog 2013 top story #14: Peralta, PEDs and penalties

Watching incumbent shortstop Pete Kozma struggle with the bat during 2013 was painful for many St. Louis Cardinals fans. After looking around for an external solution last off-season, the pressure on general manager John Mozeliak to take action this year had increased.

Despite everyone else knowing that same thing, Mozeliak acted quickly. With only two viable free agent options and a limited number of potential trade partners willing to consider trading a shortstop, it apparently did not take Mozeliak long to make up his mind on which path to take.

On November 25, the club officially announced the signing of 31-year-old free agent Jhonny Peralta, late of the Detroit Tigers, to a four-year, $53 million deal. Given Peralta’s recent past, the size of the contract caused alarm in many quarters.

The Dominican Native had been suspended for 50 games last summer following Major League Baseball’s investigation of the Biogenesis anti-aging clinic. The Florida firm was linked to the distribution of banned performance-enhancing drugs to over a dozen major leaguers, including Peralta.

Mozeliak took on critics of the contract, noting that Peralta had admitted wrongdoing and served his penalty, and that the Cardinals were not about to appoint themselves ”morality police.”

The signing, as well as that of fellow Biogenesis-suspended player Nelson Cruz still ahead, may lead to stricter penalties across Major League Baseball.

For their part, the Cardinals added an offense-first shortstop that can also play third base and perhaps some corner outfield, a potential benefit later in the contract. They did so without forfeiting their first-round draft pick and without having to trade away young prospects or emerging stars.

Still for some, the stigma attached to the Cardinals adding a player who once used PEDs is difficult to accept. Time will tell if Peralta the Cardinal will win over his skeptics. He looks to have four years ahead to try.

Link to The Cardinal Nation Blog’s top 20 stories of the year countdown

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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10 Responses to “TCN blog 2013 top story #14: Peralta, PEDs and penalties”

  1. […] 17. Eventful external minor league ownership 16. Missing Motte 15. The Craig-Adams two-step 14. Peralta, PEDs and penalties 13. 12. 11. 10. 9. 8. 7. 6. 5. 4. 3. 2. […]

  2. blingboy says:

    A sad story about Ryan Freel, former major leaguer who committed suicide a year ago. He had sustained many concussions during his career.

    “The Florida Times-Union reported that a report on Freel’s condition from the Boston University Center for the Study of Traumatic Encephalopathy and Sports Legacy Institute was presented to Freel’s mother and stepfather, as well as representatives from Major League Baseball earlier this week at the sport’s winter meetings in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

    The report said that Freel was suffering from Stage II CTE when he died from a self-inflicted gunshot would on December 22, 2012. . . . Freel is the first MLB player to have been diagnosed with CTE”

    I would imagine this impacted the decision to ban home plate collissions which was agreed to at the winter meetings. But it is worth mentioning that Freel was not a catcher, and I am not sure how much, if any, connection there is between his condition and home plate conditions.

  3. JumboShrimp says:

    Bartolo Colon, Mr. PED, got another $20MM, despite being near 40 years. Soon Nelson Cruz will land a big deal. Lots of other guys are smart enough to stay away from a flashy supplier called Biogenesis and never draw any attention. Peralta will be well received, since Cards fans like to win.

  4. JumboShrimp says:

    The Indians once paid Kerry Wood $20MM to close for them over two seasons, 2009-10. It did not turn out all that well. Now the Indians turn to Axford, having to guarantee only $4.5MM. There have been a lot of closers available as free agents. Axford played college ball in South Bend and Buffalo; Cleveland is about midway between.

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