The Yankees continue their Winter Meetings as they look to try to re-engage with the Padres for Juan Soto and make a strong pitch to Yoshinobu Yamamoto. While those two headline the Yankees’ radar, an underrated storyline comes with the fate of free-agent reliever Wandy Peralta. Acquired back in 2021 from the San Francisco Giants, the 32-year-old left-hander has been one of the most effective relievers in the Yankee bullpen, and with their lack of left-handed relievers, a reunion could make a lot of sense.
According to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Yankees are among many teams interested in signing him, and we could see a reunion between the two parties.
Yankees Looking to Shore Up Their Bullpen
Wandy Peralta saw a dip in efficiency from his stellar 2022 season, as while his ERA remained stellar (2.83), he walked 13.2% of batters, nearly double what he walked in 2022. His barrel rate also increased from 4.4% to 7.1%, so the Yankees will hope that Peralta’s command is a bit better than what it was down the stretch. His swinging strike rate took a hit as well, but he still generated a high groundball rate (57.4%) and had a strong Win Probability Added (1.13). New York currently lacks many options against lefties, and Peralta would certainly be of great use.
Going back to 2022, left-handed hitters have just three home runs and one double against Peralta in 174 plate appearances, and his strong sinker and changeup have certainly been effective. His slider has also emerged as a tertiary weapon for him, with some more four-seamers down the stretch to keep right-handed hitters honest. The Yankees have had plenty of success with relievers, and Peralta is another success story in that department. His familiarity with New York and reliability make him a safe option for the Yankees, and he could come at a lower cost.
With Peralta entering his age-33 season, it’s not expected that teams would have to give him a long contract, and as names like Clay Holmes, Tommy Kahnle, and Jonathan Loaisiga all enter walk years in 2024, Peralta could give them a cushion. The Yankees have made it clear they still want to invest in their pitching staff, as while they have plenty of internal options to help them, you can truly never have enough pitching. Injuries ravaged their pitching staff last season, and so depth will be of importance for this roster.
A contract in the two or three year range at about $6 million a season could get Peralta back, but other teams are also interested. It’s no surprise that a reliable left-handed reliever who has sparkled in October is of interest to teams, especially with how well Peralta handles right-handed hitters as well. He’s a versatile arm who can get more than three outs, while also working as a set-up man or closer when the situation calls for it. He’s even opened a game for the Yankees back in 2021, and so he seems to be open to whatever a team needs him to do.
With a mid-90s fastball, a strong offspeed pitch, and a solid breaking ball, teams are going to be all over Wandy Peralta this winter, but the Yankees seem inclined to re-sign him.