The New York Yankees may have to take a more economical approach toward filling the left field position. Having lost out on Michael Conforto, Michael Brantley, Andrew Benintendi, and others, general manager Brian Cashman could turn his attention toward the trade market for a player like Max Kepler or Bryan Reynolds.
Seemingly, there is no rush to get a deal done since the top free agents are off the board, but there is one veteran left over that could fit the bill. At 35 years old, David Peralta was on the Yankees’ radar at the trade deadline this past summer, but he ended up being traded to the Tampa Bay Rays, playing 47 games, hitting .255 with a 31.7% on base rate.
Peralta hit a combined .251 with a 31.6% OBP, 12 homers, and 59 RBIs last season between the Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks. In fact, he has spent every season of his career with Arizona before being traded, hitting 110 career homers with 486 RBIs and averaging 111 wRC+.
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The Yankees could go cheap just to create competition:
Considering he’s a veteran, Peralta would cost next to nothing to acquire for the season, even as a stopgap or competitor alongside Aaron Hicks and Oswaldo Cabrera. It will allow Cabrera to feature in his preferred super-utility role, and Hicks would have a bit of competition to try and extrapolate on his skills, which have fallen by the wayside over the past few seasons.
Peralta’s Steamer projections have him hitting .251 with a 31.5% on-base rate, 13 homers, and 56 RBIs next season. Defensively, he is a decent player, recording a .991 fielding percentage with two errors over 927 innings in left field last season. He tallied -5 defensive runs saved above average but five outs above average, polarizing metrics that essentially have him breaking even as an average defensive player.
Cashman has been looking for a lefty hitter to fill the spot, which Peralta features and has a bit of power to boot. The veteran OF contains decent average exit velocity numbers, ranking in the 75th percentile and 73rd percentile in hard-hit rate. He has solid outfielder jump but lacks arm strength, which could be a deterrent. Peralta does spray the ball around the field quite well but doesn’t rank strongly in whiff percentage or chase rate.
Ultimately, if the Yankees want to go with the cheap option, Peralta fits the bill nicely, given his veteran experience and consistent ability to hit double-digit homers on a yearly basis. However, he certainly isn’t the first option and filling LF with his services is not a World Series-caliber move.