The Mets have apparently lost on out their alleged top free agent target — reports say Jhonny Peralta has reached a deal with the Cardinals that will pay him a little more than $52 million over the next for years. Good luck with that, St. Louis.
Peralta is a good hitter, very good for a shortstop; he has topped 20 home runs four times in his career. Last year he hit .303. Of course, he only played in 107 games last season because he accepted a 50-game suspension for his role in the Biogenesis scandal.
So Jhonny Peralta is an admitted juicer. Who knows how long he has been using PEDs? His entire career? It certainly is a possibility.
So to pay him $13 million per season and tie yourself to him for four years is a tremendous risk. What if he is a mediocre hitter while clean? That is a large check to write if he turns into a weak-hitting shortstop who never was particularly good defensively.
Plus, Jhonny Peralta will turn 32 early in the 2014 season. He will be 35 in the final year of his contract. That could be a mess.
I would have been comfortable with Peralta on the Mets on a two-year, $16 million contract. That seems appropriate; it is still something of a risk, but they would not have been tying up franchise-changing money on a player who could fail without PEDs.
But in a thin shortstop market and MLB flush with national TV cash, Peralta was able to command this type of deal. Surprisingly, it came from the Cardinals, which is normally the model for fiscal restraint and smart spending. It could be a long four years in St. Louis.