Boosting their offensive potential at a key defensive position, the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a four-year contract with shortstop Jhonny Peralta.
The deal was widely reported Saturday, and the team confirmed the agreement Sunday without revealing financial details. Multiple media outlets reported the deal was worth $52 million or $53 million.
"We are pleased to announce that Jhonny has agreed to terms and I know he is equally excited to be joining the Cardinals," general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. "Jhonny is among the game's top offensive shortstops, he's a steady defender and he has experience playing for a contender. He gives us proven veteran experience and brings balance and versatility to our everyday lineup."
Peralta missed 50 games late last season serving a suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. Fourteen players were penalized for their involvement with the now-shuttered South Florida anti-aging clinic that Major League Baseball maintains was a source of banned performance-enhancing drugs.
Peralta returned to action the final days of the regular season, and he alternated playing left field and shortstop for the Tigers during their run to the World Series.
In 10 postseason games, Peralta hit .333 with one homer and six RBIs. In the regular season, he batted .303 with a .358 on-base percentage, a .457 slugging percentage, 11 homers and 55 RBIs in 107 games.
Over his 11-year career (the first 7 1/2 years with the Cleveland Indians), Peralta has a career batting line of .268/.330/.425 with 156 homers and 698 RBIs. He was an All-Star for Detroit in 2011 and 2013.
In St. Louis, Peralta takes over a position that was a trouble spot for the Cardinals in 2013. Rafael Furcal was expected to be the shortstop, but he missed the entire season following Tommy John surgery. Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso shared time and provided little offense.
Peralta's arrival likely completes the Cardinals' infield shuffle. St. Louis traded third baseman David Freese to the Los Angeles Angels last week in a deal that brought in outfielder Peter Bourjos. Matt Carpenter likely will move from second base to third base, with rookie Kolten Wong set to take over at second.
Not everyone was thrilled about Peralta's payday in light of the shortstop's recent suspension.
Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Brad Ziegler, on his Twitter account, put a link to a story about Peralta's contract and wrote, "It pays to cheat ... Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use ... People really don't understand how this works. We thought 50 games would be a deterrent. Obviously it's not. So we are working on it again."
Free agent pitcher David Aardsma wrote on Twitter, "Apparently getting suspended for PED's means you get a raise. What's stopping anyone from doing it? #weneedtomakeachange ... I had 2 major surgeries in 5 months and made it back clean, nothing pisses me off more than guys that cheat and get raises for doing so."