Cardinals rumors: Jhonny Peralta close to solving St. Louis's shortstop problems (expensively)

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The St. Louis Cardinals have been linked to the free agent shortstop that isn't related to J.D. Drew, at least so far as we know.

Well, that about does it for the St. Louis Cardinals' abrupt 2014 renovations: A few days after they traded David Freese for a new center fielder, Peter Bourjos, they're reportedly near a contract with Jhonny Peralta, one of the stronger free agents in a weaker shortstop market. If you're confident in the available defensive metrics, that's a decisive way of solving the Pete Kozma problem--but if you're confident in the rumors about Peralta's bids so far, it's also a patch that could be pricey all the way into 2017.

Rumors this past week have put Peralta's price--not just his asking price, but the price he's mulling over--in the four years, $13 million range, which is a stout price to play for a guy whose defensive reputation only escaped "secretly a third baseman" as he got older. There's also the matter of his run-ins with baseball's PED program, which might leave you a little skeptical of his aging curve.

But in the short term--and only in baseball does the short term involve the next 300-or-so three-hour stretches of your life--he's a major improvement on a team that looks sharper today than it did a week ago.

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