Jhonny Peralta Potentially Out for 2-3 Months

With all due respect to Carter Capps, it looks like we have our first major injury of spring training.

The Cardinals have a good team, and are looking to contend again this year, but they don’t have a lot of organization depth at shortstop, and were counting on Peralta to play everyday. Barring a future move, this injury likely pushes Jedd Gyorko from a utility role into the starting line-up, which isn’t a position the Cardinals wanted to find themselves in. Not only is Gyorko not really a shortstop, losing him off the bench would mean taking away Kolten Wong’s platoon partner, weakening the team against lefties even more than simply swapping out Peralta for Gyorko would suggest.

While the gap between Peralta and Wong at shortstop over a full season is probably only 2-3 wins, and it sounds like Peralta will only miss about half the season, this seems like the kind of injury that should encourage the Cardinals to make a move for outside help. For one, the Cardinals can’t really afford to just surrender a win, given the fight the NL Wild Card race is shaping up to be, not to mention how good the Cubs are likely to be this year. And this isn’t a team that is built to just say “let’s get them next year”, as veterans like Adam Wainwright, Matt Holliday, and Yadier Molina aren’t getting any younger. The Cardinals need to maximize their chances of winning in 2016, and running Gyorko out at shortstop for a few months is at odds with that goal.

Unfortunately for St. Louis, the injury occurred a week after Ian Desmond and Jimmy Rollins signed as free agents, so there’s no easy solution sitting around looking for a job. On the trade market, Erick Aybar would seem to be a potential fit, as the Braves don’t really need a walk-year shortstop during their rebuild, but they don’t have any internal replacements ready, so Atlanta might not be keen on giving up their only decent option. The Mets have infield depth, with Ruben Tejada and Wilmer Flores both set to serve as reserves this year, but they might not be interested in helping an NL contender stay in the race.

The Cardinals have a long history of finding hidden gems, but unless they know something about Gyorko’s defense that no one else does, this could be a pretty big blow. Talking the Braves out of Aybar seems like the best option available at the moment, at least from my perspective.

Dave is the Managing Editor of FanGraphs.

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7 years ago

Seems that “could miss 2-3 months,” if that clock is starting right now, means at most 1/3 of a season, not half, and it could be a lot less.

7 years ago
Reply to  TKDC

I interpreted it to mean 2-3 months of the regular season.

Matthew Murphy
7 years ago
Reply to  TKDC

The timing does make a difference. 2-3 months from now means he could be back 6 weeks into the season.
Even if we’re looking at half the season, Peralta is projected to be worth 2.3 WAR over a full season, so that’s 1 WAR lost. However, ZIPS actually likes Garcia and Diaz decently, seeing them as worth roughly 1.0 and 0.7 WAR over 300 plate appearances, respectively. Not crazy to give a Garcia (L) / Diaz (R) platoon a shot, although their questionable defense might hurt the Cardinals more than projected given their high ground ball tendencies.