11:15 p.m. EST update: FOXSports.com’s Jon Morosi says it’s expected to be a four-year pact between the Cardinals and Peralta.
A source told ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick that the Cardinals and shortstop Jhonny Peralta are “closing in” on a deal.
The word Friday from MLB.com’s Peter Gammons was that Peralta already had a four-year, $52 million contract offer on the table.
It seems like a very steep price to pay for a steroid-aided 31-year-old who has finished with OPSs in the .700 range three of the last five years. Peralta did hit an improved .303/.358/.457 last season when he wasn’t serving his 50-game Biogenesis suspension. His defense is fine, according to the numbers, but it’s certainly not going to get any better at his age. Some teams were believed to be considering him as an outfielder, not a shortstop.
That’s obviously not what the Cardinals are planning; they desperately need to upgrade from Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso at shortstop. Peralta will do that, but his signing hardly seems like a typical Cardinals move, especially if he’s going to be earning in the neighborhood of $50 million.
Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.
Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.
He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.