Yankees’ biggest trade chip is elite defensive infielder

oswald peraza, yankees
Apr 22, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; New York Yankees third baseman Oswald Peraza (91) at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

The treatment of Oswald Peraza, the Yankees‘ elite infield defensive prospect, has raised some concerns in recent weeks.

The 22-year-old clearly requires more time to hone his skills, which makes his limited playing time at the MLB level rather perplexing.

The Yankees could be endeavoring to keep Peraza injury-free to use as potential trade leverage, acknowledging his immediate strengths and his ability to instantly fill a starting infield position for a rival team.

“It also would not surprise me if Peraza is the biggest trade chip the Yankees use at the deadline.”

Via The Athletic

Peraza has seen action in only 12 MLB games this year, batting .188 with a .316 OBP, accumulating three RBIs, and maintaining a strikeout rate of 15.8%. He also had 12 games at the Triple-A level, hitting .313 with a .365 OBP and a 101 wRC+. Based on his performance in 2022 where he hit .306 with a .404 OBP in 18 games with the Yankees, the team is fully aware of his offensive capabilities.

While Peraza isn’t recognized for extraordinary power, he can certainly be a reliable contact hitter with occasional slugging capabilities. His career-best 19 homers across 99 games in Triple-A last season demonstrates that he can hit the ball over the fence, though likely less frequently against superior pitching.

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The Yankees need to feed Oswald Peraza reps:

Undeniably, Peraza would benefit from more offensive play and at-bats, suggesting he should be at the Triple-A level to further refine his skills. He only has one minor-league option remaining, so it’s plausible that the Yankees are cautiously preserving this, deploying him as a utility player.

With Isiah Kiner-Falefa primarily playing outfield and DJ LeMahieu in good health, infield opportunities for Peraza are scarce. Gleyber Torres and Anthony Volpe have had their defensive challenges, but the Yankees are willing to tolerate these inconsistencies given both players’ offensive potential.

Volpe has committed six errors this season with a .962 fielding percentage, but with four defensive runs saved and one out above average, he’s demonstrating an overall positive contribution.

It’s been proposed that Peraza could be the superior shortstop defender, and while that may be accurate, statistics suggest that Volpe is performing adequately in the infield’s most challenging position. His errors can be concerning, but the Yankees understand the need for him to adapt and learn from his errors.

Given Peraza’s lack of game time, it’s reasonable to presume that the Yankees may consider him as a potential trade piece at this year’s deadline.

Given the disarray of the starting rotation and some concerns about the left field position, capitalizing on Peraza’s talent to acquire an immediate impact player could be the optimal strategy. Realistically, Peraza isn’t likely to make a substantial difference in the postseason, but the Yankees could potentially secure a valuable starting pitcher or a productive left fielder to enhance their prospects.

General manager Brian Cashman remains committed to his World Series ambitions, particularly with the team’s sizable $288 million payroll.

If the Yankees do decide to trade Peraza, could this signify a future contract extension for Gleyber Torres?