When St. Louis Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak made the decision to pick up free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta, he saw more than just a solid option at shortstop.
While many concentrated on Peralta’s prior baggage, in reality he should have been the obvious choice for the Cardinals. The fact that he could be acquired for a reasonable price without trading away any talent, combined with the fact that he was likely the most substantial upgrade on the market, made the move a no-brainer.
On the surface, simple batting average alone is enough of a reason to make the decision. If Pete Kozma could have hit as high as .250, the Cardinals could have justified him defensively.
In the end, his .217 average just didn’t cut it and left the team with a gaping hole in the bottom third of its lineup that had to be addressed.
The case for Peralta, a career .268 hitter who batted .303 in 2013, goes much deeper than just his baseline batting average. Overall, there are many ways that Peralta makes the 2014 Cardinals a far better offensive team.
Here is why:
All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference and are current through March 6, 2014.