Cardinals Sign Jhonny Peralta

Compared to the Brian McCann signing, this one more directly impacts the Mets.

Supposedly, the Mets were considering Jhonny Peralta on a two-year deal. Well, he received four, along with $52M, from the St. Louis Cardinals. I’m not about to say that the Mets should have gone that high to get him. Further, I’m not sure it would’ve even been enough, as I’d guess the Mets would need to outbid significantly to convince Peralta to pass up a perennial postseason contender and the friendly fans and press of St. Louis to play for a rebuilding club under the hot lights of NYC. What I will say is this: much like Jayson Werth a few years back, it doesn’t matter what we or the Mets brass think Peralta is worth, or what is too expensive, or too many years, because Peralta got what he got. Too much? Maybe, but, thinking that way didn’t do anything to fill that gaping hole in Flushing between second and third base. Further, regardless of what is a fair price tag, Peralta will be playing in St. Louis next year. This is the market for a shortstop who plays average to below-average defense and has a bit of pop that may or may not be due to the use of PEDs.

Speaking of, did you love former Met David Aardsma‘s tweet?

So now Peralta is off the table, and a baseline has been set for free agent shortstops. What free agent shortstops are left? Let’s take a look:

Stephen Drew
Clint Barmes
Rafael Furcal
John McDonald
Alexi Casilla
Ronny Cedeno
Cesar Izturis
Munenori Kawasaki

Uh oh.

If the Mets couldn’t afford Peralta, I don’t think they’ll shell out what’s necessary to land Drew. As much as I’ve always loved Clint Barmes, a) he’s not the answer; and b) I shudder to think what he’ll get on this insane market. Barmes is coming off the worst offensive season in his career — and that’s saying something, considering he’s never been much of a hitter (save for one season in which he blasted 23 homers in the thin air of Denver). Barmes posted a .211 AVG, .249 OBP, and atrocious .558 OPS last year.

Furcal has already been discussed, and I’m sure he’ll be discussed again. McDonald is a fine defender, but is 39 years old and hits worse than Barmes. We know what Cedeno can do, and that’s about the same as what is expected of Omar Quintanilla. Izturis is also a fine defender, but makes Barmes look like someone with pop. Casilla was a good fantasy player in deep leagues about four years ago; now, he’s Izturis. I have no idea who Munenori Kawasaki is, nor what he’s capable of doing, but his stats suggest he’s an old utilityman.

Perhaps I’m wrong, but it would appear that the Mets will only be able to upgrade at shortstop by making a trade. I’m not sure who is available, but the price for that man / those men just went up with Peralta off the market. Something tells me it will be a subject to discuss throughout the winter.

What’s your reaction to this signing? Where will the Mets go to find a shortstop? Answer in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. AV November 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm
    Munenori Kawasaki is the guy that played in place of Jose Reyes when Reyes got hurt. He became a fan favorite (favourite?) in Toronto because of stuff like this:

    He was also such a team favorite that the Blue Jays had to call a team meeting to break the news to the club that Kawasaki was being sent back to Triple-A. He did come back up shortly thereafter when another Blue Jays infielder got hurt.

    He’s a passable left-handed bat with a good glove. Perhaps he’s make a good platoon candidate with Ruben Tejada? There are worse options.

    • argonbunnies November 26, 2013 at 12:44 am
      No power at all, but a pesky hitter who walks a bit and doesn’t strike out much. A classic ’80s #8 hitter — work the opponent and try to clear the pitcher. If he were a great fielder, I’d be strongly in favor. I think Barmes’s glove is probably better, though.
  2. DanB November 25, 2013 at 3:24 pm
    The most interesting aspect of the Peralta signing, besides eliminating one more SS from the Met’s wish list, is how it examplifies how poorly the Met front office understands the market. Their plan was to sit back and wait until Peralta runs out of suitors. They also figured he would be signed to a two year contract for a little over $20 million. Even if the Mets had money to spend, I don’t trust this front office to know how to spend it. The Mets never take the aggressive and they are never clever. By the way, I would guess the Cards went the extra year because they know Peralta could be moved to another position if he slows down at short over the years.
  3. DanB November 25, 2013 at 3:33 pm
    One aspect of this offseason that I find weird, is the idea that the Mets can not trade Niese or Gee because of Harvey’s injury. I actually feel the opposite. I think this is the best year to trade one or both. They are both coming off strong years and are cheap. They are worth a lot. The Mets need a lot and they have young pitchers in the minors to look at. Secondly, with Harvey out of the rotation, they need strong pitchers less, not more. With Harvey, they had an outside chance of competing. Without him, it feels like the season has been punted. Okay, if 2015 is the new “it” year, let’s plan accordingly. Let’s bring in pieces that will be here for a few years. The sucked with Niese and Gee, they can suck without them, too.
    • DaveSchneck November 25, 2013 at 4:35 pm
      This comment and the one above are excellent points and hit the nail right on the head. Regarding above, we will likely never know if it is the chicken or the egg regarding the Wilpons and Alderson ie spending. It strikes me that the way Alderson measures his words, combined with his $3 million annual salary, he is essentially shielding the ownership. That said, he is either intelligent enough to have deducted that the Mets will not be able to compete with a KC payroll in this inflationary marketplace, and he is putting on his best act in public (which isn’t a very good act) or he is clearly out of touch with the economics, perhaps even scarier than the first option.

      This Harvey missing 2014 issue sickens me almost as much as the mention of a Wilpon. Only losers give up on seasons before they begin. Additionally, there is zero guarantee that Harvey will ever again be what he was in 2013, or that any of these young pitching arms will ever contribute at the MLB level, no less excel. The need to get their collective heads out of their you-know-whats and get some proven MLB quantities. Sure there is some rik, all the other teams, sans the Astros and Marlins, are taking salary risks. If dealing Niese or Gee lands a legit bat that should be here a few years, by all means do it. It’s not like these bats will be growing on FA tress next year – the FA class is projected to be worse than this year. If these clowns won’t spend now, why will they spend in 2015, or 2016, or 2017? It’s early now, by so far they have acted like a complete joke. PED user Peralta laughed in their faces and ran to St. Louis. They are truly at rock bottom.

    • argonbunnies November 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm
      Gee may be at peak trade value. If some contender loses out on all their bids for a #3/#4 starter, they might pay handsomely for Dillon. If not, keep him; there’s a chance his value might decline with a worse 2014 ERA, but I don’t think he’ll torpedo it.

      Niese is at crossroads, and I couldn’t guess how other organizations perceive him. Is he (a) the big strong young lefty with good stuff and command who’s just going to keep getting better? Or, (b) coming off a shoulder injury and below-league-average K rate, has his ascent reversed course? If someone wants to pay for (a), I’d be interested.

  4. Andy November 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm
    I check in here and at Amazin’ Avenue quite a lot. It does seem that the vox populi at Amazin’ Avenue is very defensive of Alderson and blames the Wilpons’ tight purse strings for the Mets continued inability to contend, whereas the crowd here seems to be just as critical of Alderson as of the Wilpons.

    Not sure what that contributes to this particular topic, but it’s just an observation I had.

    • argonbunnies November 25, 2013 at 4:54 pm
      I guess most of the Mets Today crowd believes that Alderson has some autonomy over how he spends money (even if how much money is up to the Wilpons), how he talks to the media, and how he communicates with the players and coaches . Accordingly, I hold him accountable for bad signings, politically crafted misleading statements which insult the fan base, and the occasional crossed signals and bad practices which make things like Harvey’s injury more likely (not to mention Santana’s).

      I have yet to see any evidence of the Mets out-thinking other organizations, which was what pretty much every fan hoped the Alderson regime would do while the Wilpons have been in financial trouble. “If we can’t have Yankees-style Goliath pride, at least give us Rays-style David pride.” But it hasn’t happened.

      Much might be forgiven if Gavin Cecchini and Brandon Nimmo were tearing through the system and wowing prognosticators, but that hasn’t happened either.

      I also find it too hard to blast the Wilpons’ cheapness as some inherent character flaw, as they funded one of the highest payrolls in the game from 2005-2011.

      • AV November 25, 2013 at 5:33 pm
        I find the Wilpons meddle too much and Alderson is standing in the way of them meddling more. Part of the reason he talks so openly about the team being cheap is the Wilpons need him more than Sandy needs them. Sandy has enough experience and clout with MLB to stand on his own.

        Dan Rather did a story in 2010 about baseball in the Dominican Republic, back when MLB sent Sandy to clean up the identity issues down there. Alderson was interviewed for that story. AXSTV repeats that episode from time-to-time. It’s worth watching because it gives a great window into Alderson’s negotiating style.

      • DanB November 25, 2013 at 6:24 pm
        Once again, Argon, a great post. I think you nailed it when you said fans either want a Goliath-like domination of spending or a David-like battle of the brains. I have not seen examples of either. I liked the Beltran, Dickey, and Byrd trades, but they are hardly feats of imagination. And SA’s free agent signings have not impressed me.
        By the way, personally, I credit the Wilpon’s desire for revenue for the salaries from 2005+, I think they thought (rightfully) that stars would bring in revenue and revenue could magically be turned into Madoff dollars. Either way, we all can agree that a Wilpon run team will never spend money properly.
    • AV November 25, 2013 at 5:27 pm
      Go to Metsblog or MMO if you really want to read crazy comments. The comments on those sites blame both, Alderson and the Wilpons. If you read enough of those, you get the feeling the team is intentionally losing because it doesn’t know if it’s supposed to win or lose.

      Also, those fans that comment there can fix the team because they have more intelligence and discipline than an ex-Marine with a Harvard Law degree.

      • argonbunnies November 26, 2013 at 12:36 am
        Re: that last point, I’m not sure what to think. On the one hand, Alderson is a proven organizer and leader, probably has a super high IQ, has good rep and relationships in the industry, and was involved in some key innovations in Oakland in the 1990s.

        On the other hand, this ain’t the 1990s anymore, and valuing OBP is no longer an advantage. New innovation is needed to make up the Mets’ talent gap, and I haven’t seen this front office even try anything new-to-baseball in 3 years.

        Letting some fan with some radical ideas make a few key decisions would certainly increase the chance of disaster, but it might also increase the chance of miraculously being competitive. It’s hard for me to imagine Alderson’s conservative approach catapulting the Mets into the promised land. Actually, this gives me an idea for a post…

      • DaveSchneck November 26, 2013 at 12:58 am
        No one is arguing about Alderson’s credentials or intelligence. However, MLB is a results-based business. The results under Alderson’s tenure have been bad. Yes, we can give him some slack and time due to the financial and system circumstances. Three years is plenty, even for Ivy League ex-marines.
        • AV November 26, 2013 at 10:47 am
          It depends on your perspective. If the goal was to shed contracts and cut deadweight on the payroll, I’d say the last three years accomplished that. However, these next two offseasons are going to determine how successful he is.

          While I’ve been willing to cut Alderson some slack for the last three years, I’m not happy about the sticker shock stories with the current free agents. Everyone knew there was money coming into the game and teams spend like drunken sailors when that happens. Just look at the 2000-2001 offseason when there was a rush of money into the game and guys like Denny Neagle and Mike “Thank you for the Comp Pick that let us draft David Wright” Hampton got 8-year deals. That was the same offseason that got A-Roid his first 10-year/$252MM contract. The prices this offseason shouldn’t have surprised anyone.

        • DaveSchneck November 26, 2013 at 11:51 am
          A scarecrow could have shed contracts and deadweight over the last three years at much lower cost. All Alderson did was nothing, and was paid handsomely for it. Actually, the millions they spent on his salary could have been invested in on the field personnel. If the Mets wanted respect for hiring an esteemed baseball executive, that hasn’t gone well either. If Alderson has to fly to Houston to convince a guy like Chris Young to come here, what does that say about the Mets’ respect within the game? Who wants to play here with cheap ownership, no commitment to winning, an invasive press corps and a very disgruntled and shrinking fan base? They will nedd to overpay to “convince” any legit player but they have a Kansas City budget. This is the plan?
  5. argonbunnies November 26, 2013 at 12:40 am
    Hey Joe Janish, how about a post where you ask readers this:

    If you could take 3 actions as Mets GM, which no one would ever reverse, but after which you would return control to the current group, what would you do?

    I don’t think I’d spend all 3 of mine on instituting certain organization-wide policies (which I’ll describe if the thread happens).

    • Joe Janish November 26, 2013 at 12:49 am
      You don’t think you would? I might.

      Worth the discussion. Should I post before or after Thanksgiving?

      • argonbunnies November 26, 2013 at 1:48 am
        Bad editing on my part. “Don’t” was leftover from “I don’t think I’d spend any of mine on specific roster moves”; I would definitely use all 3 on policies.

        As for timing, well, I’ll be around whenever you post it. Maybe preceding a slow period, so it’ll stay atop the homepage for a bit and everyone will notice and get a chance to weigh in?