Report: Cardinals, Jhonny Peralta 'closing in' on deal

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Jhonny Peralta could be headed to St. Louis.
Jhonny Peralta could be headed to St. Louis. (USATSI)

MORE: FA tracker: position players | FA tracker: pitchers

UPDATE: The deal is expected to be worth a little over $52 million across four years, reports Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. The Cardinals are obviously willing to pay a premium for a substantial upgrade at short.

* * *

Free agent Jhonny Peralta is "closing in on a deal" with the Cardinals, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. There's no word yet on the terms of the proposed deal, but when things get this close, they usually get done.

Peralta, 31, hit .303/.358/.457 with 30 doubles, 11 homers and 55 RBI in just 107 games last year, as he served a 50-game suspension due to his ties to the Biogenesis clinic in Florida that MLB concluded had been supplying players with performance-enhancing drugs.

Assuming the plan remains to move Matt Carpenter to third base and start youngster Kolten Wong at second base, that leaves shortstop for Peralta, replacing Pete Kozma.

Peralta would serve as a significant upgrade offensively over Kozma, who hit .217/.275/.273 last season, good for a 54 OPS+, or a whopping 46 percent worse than league average. The defense at shortstop will decline, though, as Peralta lacks range while Kozma is a very good defender. According to defensive runs saved -- my personal favorite advanced measure -- Kozma saved eight last season while Peralta sat at exactly zero (which isn't awful, because players can accumulate a negative tally).

Again, it sounds like nothing is finalized but it appears headed that way.

UPDATE: Sounds like the Cardinals might be paying a pretty penny:

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