(AP) — Free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed on a four-year contract, giving the All-Star a fresh start after his Biogenesis drug suspension last summer.
The Cardinals filled a need by getting a top-hitting shortstop a month after losing the World Series in six games to Boston. Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso, while generally good fielders, are light hitters.
The deal was expected to be worth more than $50 million.
“We are pleased to announce that Jhonny has agreed to terms and I know he is equally excited to be joining the Cardinals,” general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “Jhonny is among the game’s top offensive shortstops, he’s a steady defender and he has experience playing for a contender. He gives us proven veteran experience and brings balance and versatility to our everyday lineup. “
The 31-year-old Peralta was suspended 50 games last season as a result of Major League Baseball’s investigation in the Biogenesis case involving performance-enhancing drugs. He returned to the Detroit Tigers in late September and played in the postseason, both in left field and at shortstop.
Peralta hit .303 with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 107 games during the regular season, then batted .333 with one homer, four doubles and six RBIs in 10 playoff games.
The two-time All-Star is a career .268 hitter with 156 homers and 698 RBIs in 11 seasons with Cleveland and Detroit.
The Cardinals have been busy. A few days ago, they sent third baseman David Freese, a hometown product and the 2011 World Series MVP, to the Los Angeles Angels for OF Peter Bourjos in a four-player trade.
“Obviously, I’m a little sad closing this chapter, but I’m extremely pumped about joining the Angels,” Freese said. “If it was going to go down, I wanted it to happen on a team like the Angels.”
The Cardinals also sent reliever Fernando Salas to the Angels.
“Overall, we just felt this was a very compelling deal to make,” Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said.
Freese’s departure did not come as a surprise.
“I definitely would look myself in the mirror and say, ‘Where am I going to be in March?’” Freese said. “I was ready to go anywhere. I’m excited to get this going.”
The 30-year-old was the MVP of the 2011 NL championship series and the World Series, setting a major league record with 21 postseason RBIs and hitting a game-ending, 11th-inning home run in Game 6.