Jhonny Peralta doesn’t have a role on this Cardinals team anymore. I don’t think we’ve seen him take his last at bat with the “Birds on the Bat”, however I don’t see him being part of this team post All Star break. Peralta, who came to the Cardinals in 2014 on a 4 year 53 million dollar contract is in the last year of his deal. There isn’t a situation where the Cardinals would bring him back in 2018 so both sides understood that this would be his last year in St. Louis. The Cardinals were looking for Peralta to “turn back the clock” to give the team much needed production at 3B, while Jhonny Peralta was looking to put up decent numbers to get one more contract to finish out his career.
Neither side can be happy with how things have gone over the first 20% of the season. Peralta has started his 2017 campaign by going 3 for 25 for a .120 batting average. He has also struck out in 36% of his at bats (9 strike outs). Peralta is also buried on the Cardinals depth chart. Jedd Gyorko has hit his way into a starting role at 3B. His backup Greg Garcia seems to do be a guy who works the pitcher for a quality at bat, and provides steady defense. On a lot of other teams Greg Garcia would see a much bigger role than the Cardinals can provide. Matt Carpenter is also a guy who can fill in at third base when Matt Adams plays 1B. I don’t think anyone would like to see Peralta in a game over Carpenter if Slim City is slotted at 1B. Peralta used to play SS but it seems like the Cardinals don’t view him as an option at SS anymore. With Diaz at SS and Greg Garcia (again) as a backup, he wouldn’t have a spot even if he could still play SS. Peralta has played in a handful of games in the OF & at 1B but again – he’s blocked or isn’t hitting enough to warrant at bats in a foreign position.
Peralta provided great value in 2014 & 2015 for the Cardinals. I think he has earned a substantial part of his contract simply based off of those 2 seasons. After playing in around ½ of the games last season due to injuries, he hasn’t been able to regain enough traction to show he’s worthy of a spot in the lineup (he batted .260 with just 8 home runs last season). I think the Cardinals will be ultimately stuck with his contract of 10 million this season. The Cardinals front loaded his contract knowing that his playing time at SS wouldn’t be in the cards for 2017. He made 15 ½ million, 15 million, 12 ½ million, and now 10 million over the span of his 4 years in St. Louis.
I think the Cardinals will try to give him extra time in the minors to find his bat, however the Cardinals will be faced with a tough decision once he is deemed ready to be called up. Peralta should be remembered as a guy who did good things for the Cardinals, but injuries and a lack of playing time will be ultimately what costs him his role on the 2017 team.