Peralta is playing out the final season of a four-year, $53MM contract, and while he was quite productive through the first half of that pact, his performance has cratered across the past two seasons. The 35-year-old Peralta tore a ligament in his thumb in Spring Training 2016 and never seemed to fully recover. He went on to have a second DL stint for the same thumb later that summer and finished up the ’16 campaign with a pedestrian .260/.307/.408 batting line in just 82 games.
[Related: Updated St. Louis Cardinals depth chart]
The 2017 campaign, however, has been infinitely worse for Peralta. He’s spent time on the disabled list this year with an upper respiratory infection and, when healthy, has struggled through one of the worst prolonged stretches of his career. In 58 plate appearances this season, Peralta has batted just .204/.259/.204. As GM John Mozeliak explained, Peralta simply wasn’t going to have the opportunity to accumulate much playing time. With Jedd Gyorko taking over as the primary third baseman, Aledmys Diaz at shortstop and Wong at second base, the best Peralta could’ve hoped for would’ve been a utility role. Instead, it appears that job will go to rookie Paul DeJong for the time being.
Peralta is earning $10MM this season, so it’s all but certain that he’ll clear waivers and be formally released in the coming days. At that point, he’ll be able to sign with any club for the pro-rated portion of the league minimum for any time spent in the Majors. The Cardinals will be on the hook for the remainder of his salary (roughly $6.29MM through season’s end), minus that pro-rated league minimum sum he’d get were he to sign with another club.