Who Can Replace Peralta?
There is no such thing as an “off” year for the St. Louis Cardinals and their fanbase. In the last twenty years, they’ve finished below .500 only three times. In that span, they’ve won the NL central 50% of the time with four world series appearances and two titles. They’ve done an extraordinary job of recognizing and stockpiling talent as well creating a winning culture that is the envy of the league. However, they are going to be taking a hit with their recent injury to Jhonny Peralta.
With the thumb injury to SS Jhonny Peralta, which will keep him off the diamond at least until the All-Star break, there’s no doubt the Cardinals will use their talent on the field — or in the front office — to find a decent replacement that will enable them to compete until Peralta’s return.
It will be a tall task, too. Peralta appeared in 155 games last year (4 at DH) with 6 appearances as a pinch hitter. Peralta produced a solid .275/.334/.411 in 579 AB’s while batting in 71 RBIs with 64 runs scored. He dominated right-handed pitchers last season posting a .289/.348/.400 and knocking in 55 of his 71 RBIs!
The only positive aspect of Peralta being out is of how early it occurred in the spring. This should give the team ample amount of time to decide if they want to go in-house or start shopping for Peralta’s replacement.
General manager, John Mozeliak, immediately stated he received interests from other teams trying to “ambulance chase”. But his main preference is to fill Peralta’s absence with in-house talent and they have plenty of options.
The man who will be getting a lot of reps in spring training is Jed Gyorko. The 27-year-old, right-handed batter, was acquired in December by St. Louis for exactly this reason, to back up one of their middle infielders
. Although he played the position quite well in college, he’s only played 29 games at the SS position since 2010. The lack of experience in combination with his size may cause the team to keep their eyes open elsewhere.
Another internal replacement could be the young Cuban SS prospect, Aledmy Diaz. He’s got more experience at the position and as Knuckleball’s writer, Adam Felder writes, he showed off a strong bat in the AZ fall league.
Searching the Market
As most have already pointed out, there are options elsewhere, too. The Diamondbacks have a plethora of middle infielder help with Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed, Rickie Weeks and Jean Segura. Segura currently batting .692 In 13 AB’s with a home run and 3 RBI. A late addition for the D-backs that might enable them to move one of the pieces mentioned above.
There were some rumors that the Rangers might be inclined to move Ian Desmond if St. Louis were to offer the right package. However, John Heymann recently shot that notion down. Not only does it look like Texas is not interested. Desmond would have to approve the trade as well.
Last but certainly not least is a name most St. Louis fans might be familiar with, Pete Kozma. Kozma, who was originally drafted by the Cardinals in 2007 and was a member of their 2011 championship team, was recently released by the team in the offseason. He signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees this offseason but could serve as a logical and easy option for St. Louis in the short term.