The St. Louis Cardinals have wasted no time in reloading for another run at the National League pennant and a shot at the World Series. According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Cards have signed shortstop Jhonny Peralta to a four-year, $52 million deal:
Jhonny Peralta and the Cardinals are close on a four-year deal worth a little more than $52 million, source says. @FOXSports1— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 24, 2013
Cardinals.com later confirmed the news.
Jon Heyman of CBS Sports later revealed the specifics of the contract:
Peralta contract terms: $15.5M in '14, $15M in '15, $12.5M in '16, $10M in '17. rare frontloaded pact. #STLCards— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) November 27, 2013
Peralta will certainly add a veteran presence to an already established lineup. The 31-year-old earned his latest payday with his second All-Star appearance in three seasons and will look to make it two seasons in a row as a member of the National League powerhouse.
Peralta enjoyed one of his most successful campaigns at the plate with the Detroit Tigers last season. His batting average of .303 was a career high, and his OBP of .358 was his highest since 2005, when it was .366. His production was a big reason why the Tigers went 93-69. He also added a little bit of power to the lineup with 11 home runs and 55 RBI.
It should be noted, however, that Peralta only played in 107 games due to a 50-game suspension as part of the Biogenesis PED investigation.
For his career, he's a .268 hitter with an OBP of .330 and 156 home runs.
The signing is a bit of a coup for the Cardinals. Peralta was reportedly a hot commodity for a handful of contenders, per Morosi:
Source: Orioles have interest in Jhonny Peralta as a left fielder. Yankees have pursued him, too. @FOXSportsLive— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 22, 2013
The Cardinals have already proved that they're willing to make big moves to remain the National League's top team. On Nov. 22, they acquired outfielder Peter Bourjos from the Los Angeles Angels in a four-player deal.
With Peralta in the fold, a Cardinals lineup that ranked in the top four of the league in runs, batting average and on-base percentage now becomes even stronger. Pete Kozma manned the shortstop spot last season and registered a batting average of just .217 and an OBP of .275, a far cry from the numbers that Peralta put up in his All-Star season.
After winning the National League pennant and losing the World Series in six games to the Boston Red Sox, the Cardinals already figured to be a strong competitor for another great season in 2014.
Signing a proven veteran like Peralta should only further improve their chances of taking home more hardware next year.