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Jhonny Peralta wants to prove that he can “play baseball naturally”

Jan 19, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

Jhonny Peralta AP

On August 5 last season as a member of the Tigers, shortstop Jhonny Peralta accepted a 50-game suspension for his involvement with Biogenesis. He returned for the final three games of the regular season, then joined the Tigers in the post-season against the Athletics in the ALDS and the Red Sox in the ALCS.

Peralta became a free agent after the season. His offensive output in 2011 (.824 OPS) and ’13 (.815) was rewarded with a four-year, $52 million contract with the NL champion Cardinals. GM John Mozeliak was willing to look past Peralta’s history with PED use.

As David Wilhelm of the Belleville News-Democrat reports, Peralta is motivated to prove that he can be a productive player for the Cardinals without using performance-enhancing substances.

“I’m trying to put it in the past,” Peralta said. “I’m trying to look forward and forget about it. … I know I can play baseball naturally. I have to show people that I can do it and that I can help.

“I’m going to try to do the best I can do and try to help the Cardinals go to the World Series one more time and win.”

The Cardinals badly needed an upgrade at shortstop, as they finished 2013 with the third-lowest OPS from the position in the National League at .583, ahead of only the Marlins and Mets. Pete Kozma, who got most of the playing time at shortstop for the Cardinals, posted a .548 OPS while Daniel Descalso wasn’t much better at .656.

  1. yourcubreporter - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:33 PM

    Didn’t he already have that opportunity???

  2. braddavery - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:45 PM

    “I know I can play baseball naturally. I have to show people that I can do it and that I can help.”

    That’s nice coming from a guy who was just signed to a $52 million contract. Great job, Cardinals management.

    • cohnjusack - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:07 PM

      In a free agent market that has seen exploding free agent salaries, the Cardinals, a team with one of the worst shortstops in baseball in 2013 and no upgrades to be found, the Cards got a shortstop who ranked 4th in WAR over the past 3 years for $13 million a year.

      So yeah, that was a pretty good job by Cardinals management.

      • braddavery - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:25 PM

        Do you not understand that his WAR was partly due to drug use? That is kind of the point here. He used drugs to heighten his performance, got caught, can’t do the drugs any longer and was paid as the PED user he was by a team who had all this info before making an offer. Now he’s saying he has to prove that he’s a good player off the juice. lol Yeah, WONDERFUL signing by the Cards.

      • dan1111 - Jan 20, 2014 at 5:55 AM

        The Cardinals probably got a discount because of Peralta’s PED use, though not nearly as large a discount as most observers were expecting. Was it a big enough discount?

        We won’t really know until he plays out the contract. However, I find it quite likely that the teams know a lot more about who is using steroids than we do and are therefore in a better position to judge this.

      • paperlions - Jan 20, 2014 at 7:31 AM

        The year for which there are documents that associating Peralta with Biogenesis, he had his worst season as a professional.

        We don’t know what he used, how long he used it (or anything else) for, or what benefits (if any) it had.

        The assumption that something enhances performance simply because it it labelled a PED is the acme of intellectual laziness. MANY banned substances that have been studied since they were banned have no apparent effect on strength or lean muscle mass (or anything else), including things like IGF, HGH, andro, and creatine.

        He cheated, he was punished, and we still don’t know if he gained any performance benefit from anything he did.

      • gibbyfan - Jan 20, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        I think hte Cardinals know they overpaid—MO pretty much said so in a press release…something to the effect they knew they would have to overpay for a SS. So, it’s an eyes wide open thing. I personall wish they had held pat until something better came alone because they team they had was good enough to get to the worlds series and I’m sure at some poin in the year a good deal would have presented itself………….but bottom line is Mo has been great so know that it’d done I’m totally hoping that I am proven wrong nad JP winds up an all star (but I doubt it)

  3. historiophiliac - Jan 19, 2014 at 9:54 PM

    Ghood luck, Jhonny!

  4. tfbuckfutter - Jan 19, 2014 at 10:19 PM

    Rule of thumb: Prove you can perform without cheating AFTER signing a contract based on your abilities while cheating.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:02 PM

      Chillax, bf. Everyone should get a second chance.

      • braddavery - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:27 PM

        It’s not about second chances. It’s about being willfully rewarded for the “first” mistake. This was a terrible signing for the Cards, IMO. I’m talking about for the money, not saying he won’t be a serviceable SS for them. He’s not worth $52 million.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:00 AM

        Yeah, they should’ve just stuck with the great players they already had.

        /s

      • braddavery - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:04 AM

        Again, someone who doesn’t get the point that they do not KNOW how good or bad Peralta will be because his past is mired in PED abuse. Maybe there was a better option already on the team or in free agency, but how can they know until they see how good or bad Peralta and if he can “play baseball naturally”. Nice $52 million risk.

        /s derp

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:05 AM

        Have a nice night.

      • spudchukar - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:11 AM

        Just a little “Baseball Botox”.

      • stex52 - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        I think that people get the point, Brad. You are just having trouble getting buy in.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 20, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        Mostly because I think he isn’t correctly considering market factors. No, they don’t know how good Jhonny is at his age playing clean (except the small sample from the post-season), but they do know their weakness at SS hurt them in the WS. So, they are going to incur some risk, yes. There weren’t a lot of options out there this off-season, and taking that into account, $13mil/yr is not so bad. I can see why they’d only want to do that for a year or 2 to test his performance, but Jhonny is going to want longer — and with the market what it is this year (back to that), he could get longer than they wanted. All that is not about his worthiness or not as it is about really needing an upgrade and being forced by market factors on the pay. They were willing to gamble that he’ll at least be better than what they had, but they didn’t have a lot of choice on how much the gamble would cost.

        Whew! That’s why I just called it a night. :)

  5. zemongoose - Jan 19, 2014 at 11:06 PM

    This really seems to infer Peralta has juiced his entire career. This could turn ugly.

  6. spudchukar - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:08 AM

    “The Natural.”

  7. weaselpuppy - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:12 AM

    Jhghonny be mediocre

  8. anxovies - Jan 20, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    Jhonny wants to prhove he can plhay.

  9. louhudson23 - Jan 20, 2014 at 3:57 AM

    Well,the inference that he himself makes is that he has never been a natural player. He clearly declines to delineate his natural play versus his enhanced play.

  10. elvin2014 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Jhonny Peralta is a godd man and good baseball player….

  11. elvin2014 - Jan 20, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    honny Peralta is a good man and good baseball player….

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