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Jhonny Peralta wasn’t unduly rewarded. He was undervalued.

Nov 25, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT

Division Series - Detroit Tigers v Oakland Athletics - Game Five Getty Images

I’ve been fighting with people all morning about this Jhonny Peralta business. The take of many: Peralta is walking evidence of crime paying and his big contract should/will force Major League Baseball to ratchet-up PED discipline. My take: the guy represented a scarce resource — a free agent shortstop who can hit — and dropped into a market where lots of teams have a need at shortstop and a lot of money to spend. Cheating didn’t get him his money. Market economics did.

With all of that in mind, go read Dave Cameron’s latest at FanGraphs. I’m not smart enough to be able to grok the Peralta’s defensive skills like Dave does, but he argues pretty convincingly that (a) Peralta is a better shortstop than many give him credit for; and (b) players who profile like Peralta basically make around $13 million a year. The upshot: Peralta was underrated by many, but smart teams like the Cardinals know exactly what they’re doing with him, financially speaking.

Whether it was a good contract remains to be seen of course. And what that all means morally and ethically is sort of beside that point. But the notion that Peralta somehow cheated as a means of duping a general manager into overpaying for fraudulent performance is sort of silly.

  1. largebill - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    My only complaint with the deal has nothing to do with PEDs. My issue is with the number of years they committed to in the deal. I’m not a Cards fan so it doesn’t bother me personally, but with his age, position and body type I would not have gone four years.

    • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

      I’m sure the Cards agree with you. However, if they were going to land Jhonny, they had to be willing to go to 4. Reportedly he wanted 5. Sometimes you don’t get what you want, but have to get what you need, to paraphrase the RS.

  2. uyf1950 - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Peralta’s contract reminds me of a lesson I was taught many, many years ago. That of “supply and demand”. If the demand is greater then the supply the commodity will cost more. That’s apparently the case with quality SS this year. At least that’s my opinion.

    • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:43 PM

      Yep, plus there are multiple aspects of supply and demand at work here. In addition to the scarcity of SS compared to demand, most teams have a LOT of money to spend. The Cardinals supply of money is not as limiting as their supply of talent. Therefore, it made more sense to spend money to upgrade at SS because money is not limiting at the moment than for them to trade talent, which is not fungible and always in short supply compared to demand.

    • gloccamorra - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:49 AM

      It’s not just at SS where he doesn’t get his due, he’s also a decent third baseman, and there’s a shortage of good ones there too. A pretty consistent hitter with the flexibility to play two premium positions is likely to get a good contract. As for PEDs, he served his suspension and paid his debt to (baseball) society, so it’s time to move on.

  3. chacochicken - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:13 PM

    Jhonny is a Rorschach test. Some can only see P-E-D. Some see a decent hitter at a weak offensive position. Statistically he is far superior to the pair splitting time at short in St. Louis. If he were an outfielder or a 1B then he would have probably gotten a Melky contract but he’s Shortstop Jhonny.

    • nbjays - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:38 PM

      I have a feeling the batboy would be an upgrade over Kozma.

  4. chiadam - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    But the PEDs are what gave him the ability to hit (he took them for a reason, right?), which got him the contract. So the PEDs turned him into the scarce good that the market needed.

    • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      No that was God.

    • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      Please provide evidence that PEDs helped Peralta hit.

      People do a lot of things that never have an effect. Indeed, most people do something all of their lives that has only a therapeutic effect (which is not the intent of the activity) and despite never seeing any other result of the activity, people carry on day-in and day-out, year after year doing this thing. That people do something in and of itself is not evidence that the thing works.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:50 PM

        Kinda like the description of advanced defensive metrics.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:02 PM

        Yeah….for better or worse (mostly better), in my line of work, you have to have support for any statement you make, and anything you say has to be consistent and supportable to all of the known factors. When work within those contsraints all day, it is hard to put them down, they start to apply to everything you do in life (thus the “or worse” part).

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        Oops, that that was a response to something else.

        FWIW, advanced defensive metrics >>> any other defensive evaluation system currently available. It doesn’t have to be perfect or to have small error terms to be a giant leap forward from the next best approach.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM

        Dammit. I just spent the past 10 minutes trying to figure out how the response was relevant to my Joke. Sorry just couldn’t help myself.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:07 PM

        In my line of work…Uh…better not go there.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:08 PM

        Yeah, no one wants to hear about growing potatoes. :-)

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:20 PM

        That is only the purported crop.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:41 PM

        I’m just gonna whistle innocently and wander over in this other direction.

      • davidpom50 - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:02 PM

        Steroids definitely help hitters hit. Steroids have been proven increase strength by 5%-20%. Increased strength leads to faster swing velocity. Faster swing velocity leads to faster exit velocity of the ball off the bat. And Mike Fast of Baseball Prospectus proved that velocity off the bat is strongly correlated with BABIP. Higher BABIP = better hitting.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:17 PM

        Hitting is a highly derived skill. Adding strength does not necessarily lead to better contact or more consistent contact. Indeed, if a hitter gains or loses bat speed, he has to make a lot of adjustments to be able to make the same contact.

        If strength in and of itself was the primary factor in hitting for power, then the list of power hitters would be the list of the strongest guys in the majors, which it is not.

      • chiadam - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:11 PM

        My evidence is that he took them. That’s what players do when they want to get better. Now, please provide evidence that they have no benefit whatsoever and players just take them for the exciting 50-game ban.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:19 PM

        Ah, so you have no evidence.

        Read this and all associated links and get back to me:

        http://steroids-and-baseballhttp://steroids-and-baseball.com/.com/

      • davidpom50 - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        Paperlions, I didn’t mention contact rates or power, I simply said higher strength = faster swing speed = significantly higher BABIP. I assume you know this, but BABIP is batting average on balls in play. An increase in BABIP increases batting average, on base percentage, and slugging percentage (but not necessarily ISO) regardless of contact rate. The higher the contact rate, the more pronounced the change. The very worst hitters for contact in the game put the ball in play 65% of the time. Jhonny Peralta has a career contact rate of 77.7%.

        Jhonny had a career high BABIP in the year he was busted for steroids, roughly 60 points higher than his career average.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:51 PM

        There is no correlation between stronger and faster. Quick twitch muscles, may in fact be prohibited by the more cumbersome large twitch muscles. Which is where the term “muscle bound” originates.

        Bat speed is about quickness, not strength.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:55 PM

        Plus, hitting a baseball and hitting it hard is all about timing and leverage. Power hitters generate bat speed in different ways, but most (non-Matt Holliday/Vlad Guerrero/Chris Davis division) do it with torque, using the lower half to generate power and bat speed…..which still requires fantastic hand-eye coordination, pitch recognition skills, and timing.

        Hitting a baseball pitched by a MLB pitcher is very very hard to do…and one doesn’t get better at it simply by taking steroids and working out a lot.

      • davidpom50 - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:01 PM

        Anabolic steroids effect fast & slow twitch muscle fibers identically. Proper training is where the difference in growth between the two will come into play, allowing for improved bat speed.

        Your argument that steroids don’t affect speed is ludicrious when you consider usage among sprinters.

      • davidpom50 - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:04 PM

        Paperlions… again, not talking about increased contact. Not talking about isolated power. You’re ignoring the thrust of my argument. Yes, hitting a thrown baseball is hard. Yes, taking steroids does not increase the likelihood of making contact. HOWEVER: Taking steroids most definitely increases the likelihood of a positive result on any ball that IS struck.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:20 PM

        HOWEVER: Taking steroids most definitely increases the likelihood of a positive result on any ball that IS struck.

        [citation needed]

        Because there are plenty of bad players that took PEDs and continued to stay bad.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:45 PM

        Exactly. Raw strength does not necessarily translate to improved performance of highly derived skills. This is like saying that NBA players would shoot better from longer distances if they use steroids because the extra strength allows them to maintain form and increases long-distance accuracy.

        Does the strongest hockey player have the hardest shot?

        Does the strongest football player throw the ball the farthest?

        Of course not.

      • jimmyt - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:43 AM

        He cheated, do you deny that?

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:30 AM

        Of course not. Breaking a rule is irrelevant to this discussion. The point is that no one can quantify how much if any such “cheating” affects player performance and the assumption of many that Peralta would be a scrub without PEDs but a top 5 SS with them is unjustifiable an inconsistent with the evidence.

        Sadly, this isn’t atypical. People generally cling to their assumptions in the face of facts when they really want their assumptions to be true.

      • nolanwiffle - Nov 26, 2013 at 8:46 AM

        Not too long ago, on this very blog, there was an essay written by former major leaguer Gabe Kapler. He opined that PED’s most certainly help a hitter, if for no other reason than increased confidence.

        I found him to be very astute and convincing. PED’s most certainly help professional hitters.

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Again, just because you think it helps does not mean it does. Jeter has “confidently” played SS his entire career, but he has mostly sucked at it. Wearing those silly bracelets or necklaces give players confidence, so do their lucky socks. None of which means that those thing affect performance or production, just confidence.

      • davidpom50 - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:58 PM

        “[citation needed]

        Because there are plenty of bad players that took PEDs and continued to stay bad.”

        I’ve cited my line of reasoning plenty of times, including my refutation about bad players being bad. We’re starting with a baseline of a player who makes contact with major league pitching 77% of the time, not some low-A scrub. If I juice up, I will not all of a sudden become a major league-quality hitter – but I might have been able to make the varsity baseball team when I was in high school. If the guys on the varsity baseball team took steroids, they might’ve had enough extra success on the balls they put into play that they could’ve been offered scholarships, or been drafted in the late rounds or something. Guys in low-A might make it to high A, etc.

        This is not rocket science, and being intentionally obtuse to the science behind performance enhancing drug use just makes you look like an ass. I don’t comment here all that often, but I read the comments enough to know that paperlions and churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged are intelligent people. Nobody is saying that steroids are magic and will make a fat 50 year old man into Babe Ruth. They WILL increase a person’s baseline for athletic performance in areas of strength, speed, and recovery from injury. There is a ton of medical literature on that stuff. All of those things allow a good baseball player to be a better baseball player, and you guys know that.

        I suspect that your obstinance comes from that you don’t really give a damn whether guys are juiced, because it DOES make them better players, and you enjoy watching really good ball players play ball really well. You think that if steroids can turn Jhonny Peralta into vintage Hanley Ramirez, that’s a good thing. If so: argue that. You can probably make some really really good points, because the lines between illegal performance enhancers and legal supplements or procedures are somewhat arbitrary.

        And for the record, since I haven’t actually touched much on the subject of this article: Jhonny Peralta’s apparent non-steroid baseline (assuming he didn’t juice before he got caught) make his deal with the Cards perfectly reasonable. The AAV is low for a guy like him in a market like this, but the number of years is higher than I would’ve offered were I a GM. Seems like a decent tradeoff for a fair contract.

      • nolanwiffle - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:02 PM

        Also-

        Why do players potentially risk losing portions of their playing careers to suspension, not to mention long-term haelth issues, if PEDs do nothing for them in terms of performance?

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:10 PM

        Because players are people and people are stupid.

        There is no evidence of any real god, nonetheless, humans have created thousands of them through history, they fight wars because of them, they give organizations a significant portion of their income, they pray, they go to church, the willingly sacrifice….all for nothing.

        Again, the actions or perceptions of the player are completely irrelevant to the existence of any effect.

      • davidpom50 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:07 PM

        paperlions: “The point is that no one can quantify how much if any such “cheating” affects player performance and the assumption of many that Peralta would be a scrub without PEDs but a top 5 SS with them is unjustifiable an inconsistent with the evidence.”

        You’ve been arguing with me back and forth here. At no point did I say Peralta would be a scrub without PEDs, and at no point have I claimed that PEDs make him a top 5 SS. I simply say that they have a definite quantifiable effect on human beings (5-20% greater increases in strength over training alone) in a way that creates a specific benefit for baseball players (faster swing = faster exit velocity if the player manages to make contact = higher BABIP). You’re creating a “magic pills” straw man, claiming that I think steroid can make any fat schlub into Babe Ruth, and then easily knocking down such a ridiculous assertion. You say yourself that no one can quantify how much PEDs affect player performance, but you seem REALLY REALLY sure that the answer is “not at all.”

        “People generally cling to their assumptions in the face of facts when they really want their assumptions to be true”

        Yep.

      • paperlions - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:16 PM

        Yes, but hitting a baseball is a highly derived skill. There is no evidence that the temporary effects of steroid use (and for baseball players they are mostly temporary as baseball players cannot work out as hard as required during the season) manifest as more production at the plate.

        Again, many people have combed the data looking for signals of steroid use at the individual and league scales and they don’t find them….they find plenty of signals associated with other factors, but none that can be associated with steroid use.

      • davidpom50 - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:25 PM

        Of course they can’t find any evidence of benefit to MLB players from steroid use. Without a perfect record of who used, how they used, and exactly when, they’re just stabbing in the dark. All we have is the occasional positive test from a flawed testing system (which tells us nothing about duration or type of use) and occasional admissions (which are almost surely shot through with lies about every aspect of testing). Other effects are much more testable – like the “juiced” baseballs used during the offensive explosions of the 90’s.

        However, rigorous scientific studies HAVE found, again and again and again, significant athletic benefit from anabolic steroid use. And even though hitting a baseball is a highly derived skill, like you say, it HAS a strength & speed component. Improve that component, and you’re likely to improve the overall result.

      • nolanwiffle - Nov 26, 2013 at 1:27 PM

        Why are they called “performance enhancing drugs”, as opposed to just……”drugs”?

        Did players of earlier eras take amphetamines for no good reason either? Or was there a benefit?

        It’s preposterous to think, like you do, that these guys are ingesting these things with no hope of a realized benefit. Also, wearing a lucky bracelet or socks doesn’t get you suspended by MLB therby costing you millions of dollars.

    • chrisernst82 - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:08 PM

      I agree its not like the MLB banned them because they are bad for the players health. Otherwise Big Macs and beer would be banned too.

  5. jrod2go - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    I don’t like the years either. I would surprised if he’s playing SS by the end. Corner OF or platoon by then, maybe.

  6. billybawl - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:28 PM

    If you’re a GM and say you won’t sign anybody connected with PEDs, you are just hurting your team and fans. Somebody else will sign those players. The Cards are smart enough to know and value the risk that comes by signing Peralta.

    If you want to change these variables and force teams into the roles of PED cops, I think you’d need to punish them with more than losing the services of a player for 50 or 100 games. E.g., take away draft picks or something. Otherwise, teams are just playing by the same rules as everybody else.

    • stex52 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:08 PM

      Exactly. We are talking about a divergence point between ethics and morality. What the Cards did was perfectly ethical. They followed the rules to the letter. Peralta served his punishment (negotiated as part of the league rules) and he is now free to negotiate a contract and play baseball.

      If you feel that PED’s cross some sort of moral barrier that the rules do not adequately cover, then a stronger punishment needs to be negotiated as a part of the next CBA. In the meantime, both sides followed the rules.

      And seriously, if you ever expect big business to be more than just ethical, you are kidding yourself. They are in it for as much money as they can make for their partners or shareholders. Other peoples’ perceptions of morality are meaningless to them.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:27 PM

        I think expecting big business to even be ethical is setting the bar at a level that most would badly trip over (or just choose to slither under).

      • stex52 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:32 PM

        I would agree in many cases. But a lot are driven to ethics by the legal liabilities.

        Most often in the world of big business, the ethics bar is pretty low, too.

      • Francisco (FC) - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:43 PM

        You know, there was much less uproar over the Eagles signing Michael Vick (an ACTUAL ex-CON) than all this high and mighty – fainting couch types over the Johnny Peralta signing.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM

        Yeah, my best limbo isn’t going to work here.

  7. Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Good lord, you know it’s a slow news day when Jhonny Peralta rules the boards here today.

  8. perryt200 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:25 PM

    So with no loss in talent, enough money coming in to have expanded the talent and a team with not only playoff experience but WS experience; it seems the Cards future is bright.

    Save all the Cardinals hate posts. I am betting you will need them next post season.

  9. Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:26 PM

    I want to also say this, nobody is talking about how desperate the Cardinals are to even sign him. He’s an average player, at best, especially going by his career .266 line. Believe me, I saw him in his first 5 seasons with the Indians. He had his up years, down years, and nothing in between. His range is horrible, there was a reason why the Indians moved him to 3rd base. The Cardinals have a deep minor league system where they could afford to send a player, or two to get a good SS. Jhonny just wasn’t that, so is this “The Cardinal Way”?

    • stex52 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Average is a big improvement for them at SS. And they clearly value their present prospects more than any trade they could get. I don’t think he will be the starter at that position for four years; I don’t think anyone does. They clearly regarded it as the optimal choice available to them for 2014.

      And they can certainly afford it.

      • Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:33 PM

        Maybe, but again unload one or two players. HOW do they get the best available players anyway, and why doesn’t any team steal members of their scouting department? It’s just unreal how deep that farm system is.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:49 PM

        Cloning.

    • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:34 PM

      Here are some things I believe:

      1) The Cardinals are far better at evaluating talent than you. If you think Peralta has been an average SS, you really need to adjust how good you think an average SS is. Feel free to name 15 better SS the last few years to demonstrate that Peralta is “average, at best”.

      2) Teams were not asking for minor league talent, teams were asking for multiple young players that have already shown they can be effective in the majors. Those players are worth more than what teams were offering in terms of SS talent.

      3) The Cardinals have infinitely more information on which they based their decision than on which you are basing your opinion.

      4) “The Cardinal Way” is actually their approach to doing business, from asset valuation, to player development…it is a way of building an organization and acquiring/developing talent. Evidence suggests that they are very good at this.

      • cohnjusack - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:39 PM

        5). If if he were a merely average shortstop (which he is not), there is great value in average. That means you’re better than half the other options.

      • clemente2 - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:42 PM

        paper is being so reasonable and fact-filled in all these posts…I salute you for the restraint you show to some of the less thought-through comments (not you Kevin—I understand your point, but paper has the rebuttal).

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:51 PM

        I am trying to be constructive and non-adversarial. I admit that this is not in may nature, but I have learned that being combative is also not constructive and doesn’t advance the discussion….which is the ultimate goal.

      • Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:49 PM

        15 better SS than Jhonny Peralta

        1. JJ Hardy
        2. Troy Tulowitski
        3. Erik Aybar
        4. Hanley Ramirez
        5. Derek Jeter (3,000 hits)
        6. Jose Reyes
        7. Ben Zobrist
        8. Asdrubral Cabrera (Defensively)
        9. Stephen Drew
        10. Jose Iglesias
        11. Elvis Andrus
        12. Jed Lowrie
        13. Brandon Crawford
        14. Aramis Ramirez
        15. Jimmie Rollins
        16. Adeina Hecheveirra

        There you go hotshot, you wanted me to name 15 of them, I did.
        16.
        13.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:40 PM

        Aramis Ramirez could never play SS in the Major Leagues. Pete Rose has over 4,000 hits and currently has similar range to Jeter.

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:42 PM

        Advanced defensive metrics corroborate this contention that Rose and Jeter currently have similar ranges at SS (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:43 PM

        Well you know what they say about blind squirrels.

      • MattJanik - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:48 PM

        I’m a glutton for punishment, so let’s look at all these guys’ ages/rWAR totals over the previous three seasons.

        Peralta (2013 was his age-31 season, 8.3 rWAR from 2011-13)

        1. J.J. Hardy (30, 11.2 — fair enough)
        2. Troy Tulowitzki (28, 11.9 — again, fair enough)
        3. Erick Aybar (29, 10.3 — still fair)
        4. Hanley Ramirez (29, 6.9 — was pretty bad in 2011 and 2012 before a strong 2013 — also, questions whether he can stay at shortstop long-term — You could call him a wash with Peralta, as long as you think 2013 is a return to form instead of an anomaly)
        5. Derek Jeter (39, 2.4 — old and certainly no longer a top-tier SS — had an acceptable 2012, but that’s probably his ceiling now)
        6. Jose Reyes (30, 10.1 — if he can stay on the field, I’ll give you that one, closer to a wash though)
        7. Ben Zobrist (Has more value than Peralta, but… isn’t a shortstop. I guess you could play him there if you want, but it’s going to dial back his value. Maybe a lot, somebody who knows more about positional adjustments than I do would have to speak to that)
        8. Asdrubal Cabrera (27, 9.3 — Mostly a wash — Funny that you cite Cabrera’s defense, since Peralta is WAY better defensively than Cabrera; any advantage Cabrera has comes from his offense)
        9. Stephen Drew (30, 4.6 — if he could stay on the field, this would maybe be a wash)
        10. Jose Iglesias (23, 2.2 — this is an apples/oranges comparison because of age, of course — the Tigers obviously think he’s their future SS though, I’ll give you that)
        11. Elvis Andrus (24, 12.1 — kid’s a stud, we’ll give you this one)
        12. Jed Lowrie (29, 5.1 — just, not on Peralta’s level)
        13. Brandon Crawford (26, 5.3 — he’s younger, so you can make a case for him, not clearly better though)
        14. Aramis Ramirez (35, 8.8 — basically a wash, and Ramirez is way older)
        15. Jimmie Rollins (34, 5.2 — ahahaha, no. Also, Rollins is a terrible defensive SS now)
        16. Adeiny Hechavarria (24, -2.1 — small sample size, and he’s young, but there’s just no way to make that argument right now)

        Even if I give you Reyes/Zobrist, that’s five guys who are clearly better than Peralta right now. THAT’S why he got the deal he got.

      • MattJanik - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:50 PM

        Also, CURSES! I hit post before making a snarky comment about how Aramis Ramirez isn’t even a shortstop… All that work, and then I blew it anyway. =/

      • paperlions - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:52 PM

        I am pretty sure that if you use “CURSES!” you are legally required to have been “foiled” or “foiled again” in the same post (e.g. CURSES! Foiled again by the lack of an edit function!)

      • pdowdy83 - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:53 PM

        Kevin, in your list of 15 better shortstops you managed to name a 3B, a guy who barely stepped on the field last season, another guy who played a grand total of 68 games at the position since 2009. You managed to include those guys but not Ian Desmond or Andrelton Simmons. Lets break your list down person by person but removed Aramis Ramirez and Ben Zobrist from the list. I will provide the fangraphs WAR for the last 3 years.

        Jhonny Peralta – 11.0 WAR

        1. JJ Hardy – 10.3 WAR
        2. Troy Tulowitski – 12.5 WAR
        3. Erik Aybar – 9.2 WAR
        4. Hanley Ramirez – 9.0 WAR
        5. Derek Jeter (3,000 hits) – 4.3 WAR
        6. Jose Reyes – 12.1 WAR
        7. Ben Zobrist – does not play SS
        8. Asdrubral Cabrera – 7.0 WAR (no good defensively by the way)
        9. Stephen Drew – 4.8 WAR
        10. Jose Iglesias – 1.8 WAR (only 1 season)
        11. Elvis Andrus – 11.0 WAR
        12. Jed Lowrie – 6.3 WAR
        13. Brandon Crawford – 4.4 WAR
        14. Aramis Ramirez – Does not play SS
        15. Jimmie Rollins – 10 WAR
        16. Adeina Hecheveirra – -1.9 WAR (only 1 season)

        Ian Desmond – 11.2 WAR
        Andrelton Simmons – 6.9 WAR (just 2 seasons)

        Peralta has been more valuable over the last 3 seasons than J.J. Hardy, Jeter, Rollins, Aybar, Hanley, Drew, Lowrie and Crawford. Hechavarria and Iglesias both just finished their first full seasons in the league so they aren’t great comparables but Peralta blows both of them off the table with his bat. Peralta has durability on his side. He has played in at least 140 games every year other than this year and that was obviously not injury related. Lowrie, Jeter, Reyes, Drew and Hanley can’t say that.

        Andrus has been worth the same total WAR over the last 3 years. He also inked a contract worth over $100mm.

      • MattJanik - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM

        Fair point, paper. More like “CURSES! Foiled again by knowing there was an upcoming easy shot at Jimmy Rollins!” though. That’s really the only thing Rollins is foiling these days, I guess…

      • Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:31 PM

        Oops, I meant Alexi Ramirez, not Aramis. But I did legitally forget Ian Desmond, so I truly apologize for that.

        But let’s be real here, this isn’t gospel, it’s an OPINION. Based, loosely on what I had seen in Jhonny’s career. If you think he is a good SS, then you might need eyeglasses. He doesn’t have good range anymore, and there was a reason why Cleveland put him at 3rd base, because his range sucked.

        But seriously guys, this is post 50 on Jhonny Peralta.

        I also didn’t just go by WAR, I went on offensively too, and year by year, you just don’t know how productive Jhonny is going to be. Maybe some of those choices were a reach, but I was challenged to name 15 other SS, and I did. Now whether you agree with my take, it’s just my opinion. By the way pdowdy83, where did you get your WAR info the last 3 years? I went by Baseballreference.com, and they have 8.3.

        But regardless, have fun with this guys, I do. Whether I am right or wrong, it’s just an opinion.

      • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:51 PM

        Even though I doubt if “legitally” is actually a word, I kinda like it.

      • cohnjusack - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:55 PM

        Hot damn Gillman, that has to be the worst, most factually incorrect comment I’ve ever seen on here.

        5 better SS than Jhonny Peralta

        1. JJ Hardy — Better fielder, worse hitter. Maybe better, but not by much
        2. Troy Tulowitski — Yep. No one questions that one.
        3. Erik Aybar —- Certainly wasn’t better last year…
        4. Hanley Ramirez —- Yep, there 2 for sure that are better
        5. Derek Jeter (3,000 hits) — Going to turn 40, injured badly and hit .190 last year. So, no.
        6. Jose Reyes — Yup
        7. Ben Zobrist — Played SS 21 times….nice try.
        8. Asdrubral Cabrera (Defensively) — I’m not sure he is better defensively. He can hit for a SS though
        9. Stephen Drew — Has certainly not been better. Played 100 games once in past 4 years!
        10. Jose Iglesias — 103 career games at short. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here!
        11. Elvis Andrus — Worse hitter, better fielder. I’ll give you this one.
        12. Jed Lowrie — Maybe a better hitter, worse fielder
        13. Brandon Crawford — Not sure how you can make this argument…
        14. Aramis Ramirez — I’m guessing you meant Alexi Ramirez? Better fielder, much worse hitter
        15. Jimmie Rollins — Was better 5 years ago maybe….

        Okay, so I’ll give you Hardy, Tulo, Ramirez, Reyes, Andrus, Cabrera and Lowrie as better or equal. First off, that’s not close to 15. Secondly, what is the average annual salary remaining on their contracts?
        Hardy: $7 million
        Tulo: $18.5 million
        Ramirez: $16 million
        Reyes: $20.5 million
        Andrus: $13.8 million
        Cabrera: $10 million
        Lowrie: 2nd year ARB eligible. Got me…

        The average salary of the players roughly equal to or better than Peralta? $14.3 million
        Now please, explain to me again how $13 million for him is so awful?

  10. hisgirlgotburrelled - Nov 25, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    If you know he was suspended for PED’s then the Cardinals aren’t going to be dumb enough to pay him according to production while on PED’s… It’s unrestricted free agency and it’s a quick and easy answer to fill a whole. It’s really simple, how many teams want a quick and easy answer to upgrading at SS? How many SS’s are available that teams want? So what are you willing to pay to upgrade at SS?… So many people getting stuck on guys getting “overpaid” or too many years for their age. That’s the cost of free agency. It’s the same with all sports. You have to pay for years of declining production. That’s what will attract a guy more to one team than another. What if all teams agreed they won’t outbid themselves by adding years in which they know a player would not be worth that much money? That’s collusion.

  11. chip56 - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Both sides are correct. Peralta is a limited defensive short stop with a decent bat who did not come with draft pick compensation attached to him, as such he was very attractive on the free agent market and another player with that same profile would have gotten the same amount of money.

    On the other hand, it is an awful visual around the league. This is the largest contract given to a player coming off a failed test and suspension and so the tag line is that you do PEDs, get suspended and are still in line for a big payday after your 50 game vacation.

    I think that in addition to a more lengthy first time ban, there should be a cap placed on what first time offenders in the walk year of their contracts can earn in their subsequent contract.

  12. spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:34 PM

    Yeah, with you here. It’s kinda like going from Richard to Rick or something…..oh wait.

  13. 18thstreet - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    I had a coworker whose first name as misspelled. Her mother, she said, was illiterate.

    I don’t like to make fun of how other people spell their names.

  14. nbjays - Nov 25, 2013 at 3:58 PM

    Not to mention a quick perusal of Baseball Reference turns up 19 major-and minor-league players, past and present, with that first name. All are Latinos, so I’d say it was more a cultural thing than a literacy thing. Sort of like the massive influx in recent years of players (again, Latino) with names starting with the letter Y.

    • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 4:47 PM

      Heh, I think I know the answer to the “Y” thing. When the Russians sent many to Cuba, and thus many Island countries, the Latins took to so many Russian names with the Y sound, and incorporated it into lexicon. So yes, Yadi and the rest are Pinkos. But rather better off than their brethren.

  15. Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    Now I also checked something else about Peralta. He just isn’t a good starter, nor does he finish well in September/October. His career numbers….

    April: .241/.308/.380/.689
    Sep/Oct .235/.311/..348/.659

    Now, you may ask me so what. Jhonny just doesn’t hit well under cold weather conditions, even he had admitted that early on in his career. St. Louis may be warmer than Detroit or Cleveland, but it can still be cold there in those months. Bottom line, $13 million a year is just too much money for a laid back guy that just wants to play baseball. We will see how he does, but let us also not forget, The Cardinals do make mistakes a time or two, and if he struggles at the gate, there will be whispers.

    • hustleandflomax - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:29 PM

      I’m sure the Cardinals are no doubt appreciative that you’re looking out for their bottom line. But forgive me if I disagree with you; the market has determined that $13 million is not too much money. The length may have been 1 year too long, but obviously the Cardinals are comfortable taking that calculated risk. If 2 years would have been enough to get it done, I’m pretty sure the Cards’ brass would have preferred that.

      The Cards are flush with money with plenty of money coming of the books…so why do you care how much money they’re paying for their glaring need? They determined they would need to pay market value because they didn’t want to trade young, cheap talent for another team’s SS. As a Cards fan, I feel that Peralta was the best option this offseason, personally.

      • Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:44 PM

        So you’re telling me the Cardinals never make a mistake?

      • Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:45 PM

        And for the record, I don’t care, well actually, I sort of do, only because dude cheated, and was caught, YET rewarded. But whatever. Enjoy your SS, may the force be with you.

      • hustleandflomax - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:43 PM

        I’ve never said they don’t make mistakes…they just didn’t make one here. They wanted an upgrade at shortstop and they went and got one. Whether it pans out or not, nobody knows. All they know is that they didn’t want another year of Kozma and Descalso starting at short. In fact, more recently, signing Ty Wigginton last season for 5 million dollars last season was a mistake, as was extending Jake Westbrook instead of re-signing Kyle Lohse was a mistake. So yeah, they make mistakes…I just don’t think this is one of them at this point in time.

      • Kevin Gillman - Nov 25, 2013 at 8:32 PM

        I will end this with we will see. It will be interesting to see how he plays, knowing he’s making $13 million a year. That makes a big difference with some players, but offensively, yeah he will be an upgrade for you guys.

    • cohnjusack - Nov 26, 2013 at 10:26 AM

      If the baseball season only consisted of the months of April and September, this would be relevant.

      • Kevin Gillman - Nov 26, 2013 at 12:14 PM

        Whatever

  16. cur68 - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    My girlfriend, who’s parents are from The DR, calls Jhonny “Jay-Honey”. I tell you this so you can make peace with Jay-Honey and get on with your life. Besides, while Jeff Samardzija, Kent Hrbek, former Royals first-base coach Rusty Kuntz, and others of the Curiously/Hilariously Spelled/Named Brigade still walk the Earth, you can rest assured that Jay-Honey is well down the list of strangely spelled appellations.

    • spudchukar - Nov 25, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Get back to work!

  17. frank433 - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    Why did this post make me think of this song?

    (I hope I’m doing this right)

  18. hustleandflomax - Nov 25, 2013 at 6:52 PM

    Kevin, I don’t get this whole “rewarded” concept. the dude served his time. So he should lose his right to a job? will you be this outraged when Nelson Cruz inevitably brings in a fat contract?

  19. tgthree - Nov 25, 2013 at 7:27 PM

    Craig, I really think you’re missing the point of the PED connection here. I’m not on Twitter, so I don’t know what the ranting public has been saying, but as far as the legitimate voices like Brad Ziegler and Ken Rosenthal are concerned, they’re not railing against the market or the Cardinals for deciding to pay Peralta what he was worth. They’re railing against the PED penalties, basically saying that the penalties need to be harsher in order to drive down the market prices of players following PED suspensions.

    Say Peralta had gotten a 162-game ban. Do you think his market would look the same, with teams knowing he’d have to sit out until after the All-Star Break in 2014? I doubt it (although I still think he could’ve probably gotten an eight-figure multi-year deal, if he had preferred that). What if he’d gotten a two-year ban? At some point, especially the fringier guys, would have to start thinking about other alternatives like Japan just to avoid losing prime years of their careers.

    I’m not advocating for those levels of penalties, necessarily, although I wouldn’t be opposed to them. But it sure sounds like the players that we’re hearing from are indignant enough that major changes might be in the works.

    I think a guy like Ziegler is smart enough to recognize that the free-agent market isn’t going to solve the “crime shouldn’t pay” dilemma. He’s trying to make sure the league does that instead.

  20. cowdisciple - Nov 26, 2013 at 2:18 AM

    If you want to de-incentivise steroid use, you have to punish the team as well as the player. Say, for example, if one of your team’s players is suspended for PEDs, you lose your next first-round draft pick. Now teams have an incentive to actively discourage PED use amongst their players, and also an incentive to not sign players they believe may be using (and players formerly suspended are not harmed, as long as teams believe they are now clean.) This also has the advantage of harming players who are using but have not yet been caught financially rather than those who have already been caught and punished. I have to imagine that MLB front offices have some pretty good insider knowledge of current users.

  21. chip56 - Nov 26, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    Peralta wasn’t the first drug user to get a big deal this winter. The Phillies signed both Byrd and Ruiz, Matt Williams is now managing the Nationals and, while he’s never tested positive for anything, a rapist who bought his way out of a conviction just got a 2yr $48.5 million NBA contract.

  22. ezwriter69 - Nov 26, 2013 at 6:29 PM

    How can you ignore the very real possibility, given history and this clown’s attitude, that he will miss at least 100 games at some point in the course of this contract? That doesn’t detract from his value at all to you? Belligerent well-stated nonsense is still nonsense…

  23. Minoring In Baseball - Nov 27, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    He was one of the few Tigers who brought their bat to the playoffs this season. I thought maybe they’d bring him back to play third base after Fielder was dealt, moving Miggy back to first. He played well in a Tigers uniform the years he was there.

    http://minoringinbaseball.com/

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