(Busch Stadium) The St. Louis Cardinals were very much aware of the scrutiny and questions which would follow as they made their first selection in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft–choosing shortstop Delvin Perez, who recently failed a PED test.
“It was certainly something that both Bill and I discussed understanding there’d be a reaction to this,” shared General Manager John Mozeliak. “He’s a young man, he made a mistake, he recognizes that, and we have a scout who works for us down in Puerto Rico and knows Mr. Perez well and knows the family, and really felt like this was someone who was remorseful for the mistake he made and this was a good opportunity for him to move forward.”
A potential Top 5 pick, the Cardinals began looking more seriously into the possibility of Perez being available in the draft last week, after it was revealed the 17-year old had failed the PED test and his stock began to drop.
“Let’s be honest here–he was going to be picked,” said Mozeliak. “Someone is going to have to answer questions on this but the history and what you deal with in baseball is not something that we’re running from. We really feel like giving him an opportunity is the right move here and clearly, there will be counseling and there’ll be things that are part of his curriculum that might not have been part of someone who hasn’t tested positive for PEDs. Having said that, we still believe there’s a lot of upside for his baseball career and at his age we want to give him that chance.”
While the Cardinals do not believe that Perez was a habitual user of PEDs or may have affected the accuracy of his projections, there was not an attempt to minimize his decision.
“It was the bad kind, there’s no doubt about that–it wasn’t about weight loss or something,” said Mozeliak.
There was also no deflection of the negative feedback, some already on a national level, regarding the selection.
“I certainly hope people understand he was going to be chosen at some point and if we have to take a black eye for being that team, we’ll live with that,” reiterated Mozeliak. “We’ve always said we’re not perfect.”
photo credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports, Perfect Game