The Yankees are doing Oswald Peraza dirty with latest roster moves

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Feb 19, 2023; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) winds up during spring training practice at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees announced a number of roster moves on Sunday, specifically revolving around Giancarlo Stanton‘s latest injury. Stanton is expected to miss 4–6 weeks with a Grade 2 hamstring strain, but given his past health, he may miss even more time than that.

Stanton started his 2023 season on a good note, and while he posted a sub .300 OBP, he hit four homers with nine RBIs and was starting to heat up. Unfortunately, all of his momentum now comes to a halt, and the Yankees need to find supplements for their clean-up spot.

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The Yankees promoted Oswald Peraza, but for what?

In the meantime, the Bombers called up Oswald Peraza from Triple-A Scranton to fill the final spot on the 26-man roster. However, they fully intend to send him back down once Josh Donaldson returns this week, which could be as soon as Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels.

Sending down Peraza in favor of Donaldson could be viewed as malpractice. Donaldson, 37, has been a shell of his former self, hitting .125 with a .176 OBP to start the season. The sample size is small, playing in just five games before suffering a hamstring injury of his own. However, he’s coming off an embarrassingly bad 2022, hitting .222 with a .308 OBP, slapping 15 homers and 62 RBIs.

Peraza consistently gets the short end of the stick. Considering the Yankees aren’t having him entertain reps at third base in preparation for a potential transition, their plans for him are unknown.

Considering Anthony Volpe has taken over the shortstop position full-time, Peraza needs to be assessed at other spots, specifically the hot corner and second base. However, Gleyber Torres is performing well to open the year, and his defense has been solid the past few seasons at 2B, indicating the Yankees could continue to roll with him, especially with one year left of control after the 2023 campaign.

The logical choice for Peraza is third base, considering Donaldson is playing on an expiring contract and will undoubtedly be off the team next year. His regression has been sudden and steep, but manager Aaron Boone still thinks he has a bit of gas left in the tank, despite his elevating strikeout rates and poor swing decisions.

On the other hand, Peraza, 22, is hitting .289 with a .357 OBP in Triple-A across nine games and 42 plate appearances. He hosts a 19% strikeout rate and a 7.1% walk rate, but if that’s not enough, he enjoyed an excellent 18-game sample size with the Yankees toward the end of the 2022 season. He hit .306 with a .404 OBP, hitting his first home run and collecting two RBIs. Peraza is more than capable of stealing bases and showcasing elite defensive quality, so the Yankees burying him on their minor league roster is undoubtedly an odd strategy.

It certainly suggests the Yankees may consider trading him for support, potentially in the outfield or for pitching. Peraza is one of the best defensive prospects in the game at shortstop and has a ton of upside offensively, so there is plenty of value to expand upon if the Yankees want to go in that direction.

There’s no rush to make any premature moves, but they have a few valuable pieces they can leverage at the trade deadline this summer, and Peraza is undoubtedly shaping up to be one of them.