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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The St. Louis Cardinals factored in Jhonny Peralta's drug suspension when they negotiated a $53 million, four-year contract with the free agent shortstop.
General manager John Mozeliak said Monday that Peralta had admitted wrongdoing and served his penalty, and that the Cardinals weren't about to appoint themselves "morality police."
"Character and makeup are something we weigh into our decision-making," Mozeliak said. "In his case, he admitted what he did, he took responsibility for it. I feel like he has paid for his mistakes, and obviously if he were to make another one, then it would be a huge disappointment."
Mozeliak agreed with critics that penalties aren't strict enough.
"You do need a deterrent, and right now 50 games does not seem to be necessarily stopping it," Mozeliak said.
But he also believed attitudes have changed.
"I think Major League Baseball has done a great job trying to clean up this game, and I feel like they've taken great steps," the GM said.
While he used the phrase "morale police" during his availability earlier in the day, Mozeliak said he meant to say "morality." He also said the club was confident this was an isolated circumstance.
The 31-year-old Peralta was suspended for 50 games last summer following MLB's investigation of the Biogenesis of America anti-aging clinic, which was accused of distributing banned performance-enhancing drugs. He underwent a physical on Sunday in St. Louis but did not attend the introductory news conference.
Peralta gets $15.5 million next year, $15 million in 2015, $12.5 million in 2016 and $10 million in 2017. He had a $6 million salary season, when he lost $1,639,344 in withheld salary during the suspension.
St. Louis also explored a trade but wasn't willing to part with several prospects. Mozeliak said negotiations went quickly after groundwork was laid at the GM meetings.
Peralta and Stephen Drew were the best two shortstops in free agency. Peralta was a plus for the Cardinals because they've got a lot of left-handed hitters and he bats right-handed.
Mozeliak said rookie Pete Kozma, the starter last year who could end up back in the minors next season, was a better defensive shortstop than Peralta. The Cardinals prized Peralta, an All-Star two of the last three seasons, for his bat.
Peralta batted .303 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs in 107 games last year and four times has hit 20 or more homers. Kozma hit .217 with one homer and 35 RBIs.
Mozeliak said he'd be satisfied if the Cardinals stood pat the rest of the offseason but added the team will still be listening to offers. St. Louis filled its other need last week by trading third baseman David Freese to the Angels for center fielder Peter Bourgos.
Coming off a second World Series in three seasons, the Cardinals are loaded with young pitching and the lineup is set.
Matt Carpenter is set to move from second base to third base next season to make room for rookie Kolten Wong, a first-round draft pick in 2011. Matt Adams will start at first base with Allen Craig moving to right field.
The Cardinals don't anticipate Carlos Beltran, the right fielder last year, will take a one-year qualifying offer.
"There's still some things we can look at, there's still opportunities over the next 6-7 weeks as we progress into the winter meetings, but if the clock stopped today we'd be pretty happy with our club."
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Alexander Steen scored twice, and Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Wild on Monday.
Steen has 19 goals this season, one behind Washington's Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead.
Vladimir Sobotka also scored for the Blues, who are 9-1-1 in their last 11 and 12-2-1 in the last 15. They have won six straight against Minnesota by a combined 20-7.
The Wild were shut out for the first time this season and lost only their second game in the last eight. Minnesota (15-6-4) is still off to its best start with 34 points in its first 25 games.
Halak improved to 13-3-2 with his third successive win. He robbed Zenon Konopka from close range late in the second period and earned his second shutout of the season and 27th of his NHL career.
Steen pounced on the rebound of Jay Bouwmeester's shot midway through the first period to give the Blues a 2-0 lead. Steen added an empty-net goal with 1:22 left.
Sobotka scored just 1:20 into the game off a rebound of a shot by Carlo Colaiacovo. Sobotka also scored the first goal 1:39 into a 6-1 win over Dallas on Saturday.
Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom, who started in place of Josh Harding, fell to 2-2-2. Harding is day-to-day with a groin injury.
St. Louis has a franchise record 37 points through its first 23 games.
NOTES: St. Louis D Kevin Shattenkirk missed the game because of the flu. ... Minnesota LW Mike Rupp made his season debut after missing 24 games due to offseason knee surgery. ... This was the first of five meetings between the new Central Division rivals. ... The Blues lead the NHL with a plus-32 goal differential. ... St. Louis LW Ryan Reaves underwent surgery Monday for a broken bone in his right hand. Reaves, who leads the team with 69 hits, is expected to miss at least six weeks. ... Minnesota has failed to score on its last 11 power plays against the Blues.
Northern Illinois moved ahead of Fresno State in the BCS standings and up to No. 14 as the Huskies and Bulldogs jockey to be the last BCS buster.
NIU jumped two spots Sunday and Fresno State slipped one to 16th.
The top three teams in the BCS standings were unchanged: Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State - the remaining undefeated teams in BCS automatic qualifying conferences.
The other major college unbeatens, Northern Illinois and Fresno State, are fighting for one automatic bid. They have to finish in the top 12 of the last BCS standings, which comes out Dec. 8, or finish in the top 16 while ranking ahead of an AQ-conference champion.
Central Florida is in position to win the American Athletic Conference auto-bid, but is 19th in the latest standings.
Northern Illinois reached the BCS last season by being ranked ahead of the champion of the Big East. The Huskies then lost to Florida State in the Orange Bowl.
Jordan Lynch and Northern Illinois overtook Derek Carr and Fresno State this week on the strength of better computer ratings. NIU is seventh in the computer ratings, while coming in 17th in the Harris poll and 20th in the USA Today coaches' poll. Fresno State is 13th in each poll, but 17th in the computers.
Jerry Palm, who analyzes the BCS for CBS.com, said he was surprised Northern Illinois made such a big move after winning at Mid-American Conference rival Toledo last week. Fresno State stayed unbeaten with a win against Mountain West Conference foe New Mexico. Neither team has played a strong schedule, Palm said.
"What baffles me is we have such a disparity in the computers between two teams that we're splitting hairs over," he said. "That's a head scratcher."
Palm said NIU's lead could be temporary as Fresno State plays tougher opponents the rest of the way.
NIU plays at home against Western Michigan (1-10) on Tuesday and then faces either Buffalo or Bowling Green in the MAC championship game. Fresno State plays at San Jose State (5-5) on Friday and then either Utah State or Boise State in the Mountain West championship.
The Bowl Championship Series is done after this season. The four-team College Football Playoff replaces it next year.
The Crimson Tide and Seminoles are still on course to meet in the final BCS championship game if they can stay unbeaten. Ohio State is on deck if either of the top two slip up.
The Buckeyes were in danger of being passed by Baylor, but Oklahoma State took care of that by blasting the Bears 49-17 on Saturday night.
Auburn (fourth) and Missouri (fifth) are behind the Buckeyes and could make an interesting case for being in title game if they can win out and become SEC champions with just one loss. But the Buckeyes (.9200 BCS average) have a good-sized lead on both the Auburn Tigers (.8326) and Missouri Tigers (.8077).
Ohio State is third in each poll, followed by Clemson. Auburn is fifth and Missouri is sixth. The Buckeyes are also third in the computer ratings.
"They're not going to pass Ohio State," Palm said of Auburn and Missouri. "The coaches in particular are not going to allow an undefeated to not play for the title. They understand how hard it is to finish unbeaten. It hasn't happened yet in the BCS and there is no reason to think it would this year."
Alabama (11-0) plays Auburn on Saturday, with the winner advancing to the Southeastern Conference championship game as the SEC West winner. Missouri or South Carolina will represent the East, depending on whether the Tigers beat Texas A&M at home.
Florida State (11-0) plays struggling rival Florida at home Saturday and then moves on to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, where Duke, Virginia Tech, Miami or Georgia Tech will be the opponent.
Ohio State (11-0) finishes its regular season against rival Michigan at the Big House on Saturday, and then plays Michigan State in the Big Ten championship game. The Buckeyes have won a school-record 23 straight games. If they remain unbeaten the worst they can do is a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 2009 season.
Free agent shortstop Jhonny Peralta and the St. Louis Cardinals have agreed on a four-year contract, giving the All-Star a fresh start after his Biogenesis drug suspension last summer.
The Cardinals filled a need by getting a top-hitting shortstop a month after losing the World Series in six games to Boston. Pete Kozma and Daniel Descalso, while generally good fielders, are light hitters.
The deal was expected to be worth more than $50 million.
"We are pleased to announce that Jhonny has agreed to terms and I know he is equally excited to be joining the Cardinals," general manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. "Jhonny is among the game's top offensive shortstops, he's a steady defender and he has experience playing for a contender. He gives us proven veteran experience and brings balance and versatility to our everyday lineup. "
But the move drew a different reaction from a couple other big leaguers.
"It pays to cheat... Thanks, owners, for encouraging PED use," Arizona pitcher Brad Ziegler tweeted.
"Apparently getting suspended for PED's means you get a raise. What's stopping anyone from doing it? (hashtag)weneedtomakeachange," free agent pitcher David Aardsma tweeted.
The 31-year-old Peralta was suspended 50 games last season as a result of Major League Baseball's investigation in the Biogenesis case involving performance-enhancing drugs. He returned to the Detroit Tigers in late September and played in the postseason, both in left field and at shortstop.
Shortly before Peralta was penalized, the Tigers acquired young shortstop Jose Iglesias from Boston in a three-team trade.
Peralta hit .303 with 11 home runs and 55 RBIs in 107 games during the regular season, then batted .333 with one homer, four doubles and six RBIs in 10 playoff games.
The two-time All-Star is a career .268 hitter with 156 homers and 698 RBIs in 11 seasons with Cleveland and Detroit.
The NL champion Cardinals have been busy since the season ended. A few days ago, they sent third baseman David Freese, a hometown product and the 2011 World Series MVP, to the Los Angeles Angels for outfielder Peter Bourjos in a four-player trade.
The Cardinals cut about $45 million off last season's payroll, and wanted to plug a hole at shortstop. St. Louis lost All-Star Rafael Furcal in spring training for the whole year because of elbow surgery.
Detroit did not extend a qualifying offer to Peralta, meaning there would be no compensation draft pick involved in his move from the AL Central champions to the NL Central winners.
Earlier this offseason, the Tigers traded first baseman Prince Fielder to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler in a swap of All-Stars with rich contracts.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The Long brothers were part of a first-half tussle, and the St. Louis Rams pushed the Chicago Bears around most of the day.
Tavon Austin's 65-yard touchdown run - his fourth straight this season from beyond midfield - jump-started a 21-point first quarter and the defense made some big plays, too, in a 42-21 victory over the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
Coming off their bye, the Rams (5-6) followed up a 30-point rout of Indianapolis in front of their largest crowd of the season, about half of them clad Bears orange. Late scores by rookie backup running back Benny Cunningham and defensive end Robert Quinn helped finish off the Bears (6-5), who remained tied for the NFC North lead.
Josh McCown passed for 352 yards and two touchdowns with an interception for Chicago, which had won four straight in the series. The Bears had a 62-yard punt return for touchdown by Devin Hester nullified by a holding penalty in the fourth quarter.
The Longs - Chicago guard Kyle and St. Louis defensive end Chris - lined up close to each other all day and were the focal point of one skirmish in the first half. After McCown threw an incomplete pass to fullback Tony Fiammetta in the second half, Fiammetta and Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson squared off, causing players from both teams to rumble.
Kyle Long raced down the field get to Rams end William Hayes, and had him down before his big brother intervened. Chris Long, who had taken the play off, raced off the sideline to corral Kyle Long and drag him from the fight to the sideline.
Cunningham's 9-yard run with 3:05 to play plus a 2-point conversion pass from Kellen Clemens to Isaiah Pead put the Rams up 35-21. Quinn stripped McCown on a sack and then scooped up the ball on a 31-yard return just before the 2-minute warning.
The Bears had first-and-goal at the 4 on their opening drive of the second half trailing 24-14 and got nothing when coach Marc Trestman decided against a field goal and Michael Bush was thrown for a 4-yard loss by Jo-Lonn Dunbar.
All of the Rams' home games have been televised locally. But Sunday's attendance of 66,024 was nearly 10,000 more than the previous best.
Cunningham rushed for 109 yards on 13 carries, most of it in the second half after Stacy was sidelined with concussion-like symptoms. Johnson and guard Chris Williams also left following blows to the head.
McCown's passing yardage total was the third-best of his career and most since 2005.
The Rams stunned the Bears with two big plays and two touchdowns before the first capacity crowd of the year, with about a 50-50 home-road mix and orange jerseys everywhere, could settle in.
Austin's 65-yard run gave them points on their opening possession the first time all year and Stacy's 1-yard run capitalized on a lost fumble by Matt Forte at the 7 for a 14-0 cushion with 12:36 to go in the first quarter.
Jared Cook added a 6-yard catch from Clemens late in the first for a 21-7 cushion, offsetting Martellus Bennett's 7-yard reception from McCown.
The Rams totaled 29 points in the first quarter during the first 10 games before surging against a defense that been on the upswing, allowing an average of 20 points the last three games.
ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Brian Elliott made 33 saves in only his fifth start of the season and the St. Louis Blues got goals from six players in their third straight win, a 6-1 victory over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.
St. Louis (16-3-3) has won five of six and is off to the fastest start in franchise history.
Dallas had its six-game road winning streak snapped.
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock recorded his 621st win, moving him into sole possession of eighth place in career wins.
Vladimir Sobotka, Vladimir Tarasenko, David Backes, Derek Roy, Chris Stewart and T.J. Oshie scored for the Blues, who have won six of their last seven against the Stars.
Elliott, the backup to Jaroslav Halak, he stopped the final 26 shots in improcving 4-0-1.
Brenden Dillon scored for Dallas, which fell to 8-6 on the road.
BOSTON (AP) -- Derek Roy scored once in regulation and again in the fourth round of the shootout on Thursday night as the St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins 3-2.
Jaroslav Halak stopped 27 shots in regulation, two more in the overtime and three in the shootout as St. Louis won for the fourth time in five games and continued the hottest start in its history. David Backes also scored for the Blues, and NHL points-leader Alexander Steen converted their other shootout goal after going the entire game without a shot.
Gregory Campbell and Carl Soderberg scored for Boston. Tuukka Rask made 24 saves and forced Roy to put one off the post on a breakaway in the first minute of the overtime.
Soderberg broke in alone on the goal in the last 15 seconds of the overtime, but he meekly shot it into Halak's pads just before the final buzzer.
That sent the game to a shootout, and Boston took an early lead when Patrice Bergeron beat Halak over his shoulder to make it 1-0. T.J. Oshie, David Krejci and Jarome Iginla all missed before Steen poked it through Rask's pads to tie the shootout 1-1 after three tries apiece.
Chris Kelly missed for Boston in the first extra round, and Roy went in quickly, skidded to a stop and then went around Rask to poke the puck in for the winner.
It was St. Louis' 15th win in 21 games this season.
The Bruins scored late in the first when Blues defenseman Ian Cole fell in his own end, allowing Boston to keep the puck in the zone. Torey Krug slid it over to Campbell, who tried to one-time it but sculled it off the heel of his stick. The slow-moving puck seemed to confuse Halak and went into the net off the corner of the post.
But the Blues tied it just 37 seconds later, when Roy wristed the puck toward the net from the left point. Stewart tried to deflect it near the circle, missing the puck but knocking a defender's stick away. Another Blues player tried to get a stick on it in the crease but it also eluded him as he was taken down by Boston defenseman Matt Bartkowski.
Instead, the undeflected puck went right through Rask's legs to make it 1-all with 9 seconds left in the period.
St. Louis took a 2-1 lead late in the second when Kevin Shattenkirk's wrist shot from the point was deflected into the net by David Backes. It was Shattenkirk's 100th career assist.
This time it was the Bruins' turn to answer quickly.
About 2 1/2 minutes after the Blues took the lead, Reilly Smith fed the puck from behind the net to Soderberg in the slot and he beat Halak to tie it 2-2.
NOTES: Hall of Famer Bobby Orr took part in a ceremonial puck drop. John "Pie" McKenzie, another member of the 1970 and '72 Stanley Cup champions, was also in attendance. The 1970 team swept St. Louis in the finals. ... The Bruins called up D Kevan Miller to fill in while Adam McQuaid and Dennis Seidenberg are out with undisclosed injuries. Miller made his NHL debut. ... St. Louis finished a three-game road stretch. They split the first two, losing to Washington and beating Buffalo by 4-1 scores. ... The first penalty of the game was called with 1:54 gone in the third period. ... Steen entered the night tied for the league lead with Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby at 26.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Brenden Morrow scored twice and the St. Louis Blues continued their mastery of the Buffalo Sabres with a 4-1 win Tuesday night.
Vladimir Tarasenko and Magnus Paajarvi also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 23 saves for the Blues, who have won 13 of 15 games against Buffalo since 1999.
Tyler Ennis scored the Sabres' goal just 10 seconds into the game, as Buffalo lost at home after consecutive home wins last week.
The Blues' league-best power play stayed productive, scoring in their fourth straight game. It's a stretch that's seen the Blues go 6 of 17 with the man advantage.
St. Louis is 8-1 in its past nine trips to Buffalo. The Blues improved to 7-2 against Eastern Conference teams, outscoring opponents 31-17.
Though the Blues outshot the Sabres 31-24, they got off to a slow start.
After a dump into the Blues zone off the opening faceoff, Ville Leino stripped the puck from Jay Bouwmeester below the left faceoff circle and found Ennis, who beat Halak with a low shot to give the Sabres an early lead.
It took less than a minute for the Blues to tie it, as Morrow pounced on a rebound and beat Ryan Miller at 1:09 of the first.
Tarasenko scored a power-play goal with 36 seconds to play in the first period on a pass from T.J. Oshie, who collected his own blocked shot.
Buffalo has been outscored 31-4 in the first period this season.
Morrow's second of the game came when Cody McCormick lost the puck behind the Buffalo net. Chris Stewart picked up the puck and passed to Morrow, who had raced into the high slot for a one-timer.
It was Morrow's first multi-goal game since April 17, when he scored twice against Montreal. Stewart had two assists.
Paajarvi added his first goal for the Blues when he beat Miller below his blocker with just over six minutes played in the third.
St. Louis' top-ranked road penalty kill stopped both of Buffalo's power plays.
Defenseman Mike Weber returned to the Sabres' lineup after missing 10 games with a hand injury suffered Oct. 25 against Florida.
NOTES: Blues C Patrik Berglund missed his second straight game with an upper-body injury. ... The Sabres sent D Rasmus Ristolainen, LW Johan Larsson and C Mikhail Grigorenko to their American Hockey League affiliate in Rochester on Tuesday. ... Buffalo also sent D Nikita Zadorov to the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.