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Jhonny Peralta close to signing with Cardinals

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Jerry Crasnick at ESPN is reporting former Tiger shortstop Jhonny Peralta is close to signing with the St Louis Cardinals.

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

SUNDAY UPDATE: JP Morosi says that Peralta is expected to sign a four year contract. Details still not confirmed.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Jhonny Peralta and the Cardinals are close on a four-year deal worth a little more than $52 million, source says. <a href="https://twitter.com/FOXSports1">@FOXSports1</a></p>&mdash; Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) <a href="https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/statuses/404653713282695168">November 24, 2013</a></blockquote>

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UPDATE 2:  John Heyman tweets that the deal is official

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Peralta agreement with <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23STLCards&amp;src=hash">#STLCards</a> is $53M for four years.</p>&mdash; Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/statuses/404723347319046144">November 24, 2013</a></blockquote>

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Former Tigers shortstop Jhonny Peralta is closing in on a deal with the St Louis Cardinals, according to a report by Jerry Crasnick at ESPN.com. Here is the tweet

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Free agent Jhonny Peralta closing in on a deal with <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23STLcards&amp;src=hash">#STLcards</a>, source confirms.</p>&mdash; Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) <a href="https://twitter.com/jcrasnick/statuses/404399681628676096">November 24, 2013</a></blockquote>
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On Friday, reports were circling whch had Peralta asking for a contract worth $ 56 to $ 75 million for four to five seasons. Previous reports indicated that the former Tiger shortstop was seeking "much more than three years and $ 45 million".

Yet another report, from Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports, tied the Cardinals to Peralta.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>One exec involved in infield market believes Cardinals are interested in Jhonny Peralta. The Freese trade falls in line with that.</p>&mdash; Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) <a href="https://twitter.com/jonmorosi/statuses/404065386465071104">November 23, 2013</a></blockquote>
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The Cardinals are known to be looking for a shortstop, and Peralta is a free agent looking for a team. Peralta earned a salary of $ 6 million with the Tigers in 2013, and $ 5.5 million in 2012.

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweeted the cost of signing Peralta would indeed by high:

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>i team that offered $52M for 4 yrs for peralta was told they&#39;re not even in game. will be fascinating how high it goes.</p>&mdash; Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) <a href="https://twitter.com/JonHeymanCBS/statuses/404420567115108352">November 24, 2013</a></blockquote>
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Peralta is considered by many to be the best shortstop available on the free agent market this off season, after hitting .303/.358/.457 with an OPS of .815 in a suspension shortened 2013. The only other shortstop who would come close in production is Stephen Drew of the Red Sox. Drew declined a qualifying one-year offer of $ 14.1 million, meaning any team that signs him would have to surrender their highest unprotected draft pick.

Peralta has the highest WAR of any shortstop in the American League over the past three seasons. His batting numbers are well above average for his position, along with average defense according to either UZR or Bill James's defensive runs saved (DRS).

One can't help but wonder; if Peralta can get that kind of long term contract, what would his teammate, Omar Infante, be looking for? Dave Dombrowski's comments after the trade for Ian Kinsler suggest the Tigers may have been out of the running for Infante before the deal with the Rangers was put together.

Peralta was the second or third most productive hitter in the Tiger lineup in 2013, despite missing 50 games due to a suspension related to the Biogenesis scandal. His departure from the Tigers has been a foregone conclusion since the Detroit acquired Jose Iglesias in a trade at the end of July.

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