This is notable to Tribe fans for three reasons:
1) Peralta of course played for 8 seasons in Cleveland (2003-2010)
His 103 home runs and .422 slugging percentage with the Indians rank second among all shortstops in franchise history.
2) Peralta is departing the Detroit Tigers, the Tribe's chief obstacle in the AL Central.
Peralta was a big part of their 2013 success before being suspended 50 games for his connection with Biogenesis. At that point Detroit traded for defensive wizard Jose Iglesias, who is now one of the very few inexpensive members of their lineup.
3) This takes St. Louis out the shortstop market, where they've spent the last 13 months.
Since the start of last offseason, the Cardinals have been seen as the best partner for the Indians in a potentialAsdrubal Cabrera trade. Last winter there were reports that the two teams were discussing a deal that would have sent at least one of St. Louis' many young pitchers to Cleveland, possibly Carlos Martinez, Trevor Rosenthal, or Michael Wacha.
12 months ago Cabrera was coming off his second straight solid season, and was owed just $16.5 million for another two years, making him a fairly valuable commodity. We don't know what all deals may have been out there, but ultimately the front office decided the team was looking to contend in 2013, and didn't want to weaken the roster for a prospect (though as it turns out, a couple of those prospects would have helped the team at least as much as Cabrera did).
This winter Cabrera is coming off a season which saw his hitting, fielding, and base running all decline, and he's now owed $10 million in the final year of his contract. He is decidedly less valuable now, which is why I don't think he's going anywhere, but there are certainly a good number of Tribe fans who think he'll still fetch a solid return, and who still viewed the Cardinals as a possibility. This move of course ends that speculation.
We will all be hoping Cabrera rebounds next spring. If he does, he'll either play an important role in helping the Indians contend again, or he'll have higher trade value at the deadline, when at least a couple teams will be looking for an upgrade.
I don't like this signing for St. Louis, it's too many years for a player I don't expect to hold up well (and with a .374 BABIP in 2013, he's a strong candidate for steep downward regression next year). A lot of teams sign a lot of players to bad contracts though, and this one doesn't seem terrible (just not good). What I find more interesting is what this says about how teams view players with PED connections, because I don't think Peralta's suspension had a major impact on his eventual contract. The Cardinals weren't afraid to risk a whole lot of money on Peralta being the same player he was before, which seems to mean they either don't think whatever he was taking made that big a difference, or they don't believe its effects will wear off.