The New York Yankees enter the 2024 offseason with a hole at third base, but filling that hole could be left to an internal promotion in Oswald Peraza.
The Yankees’ payroll is excessive
It’s no secret that the Yankees payroll is expensive with Gerrit Cole, Carlos Rodon, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton each making $27 million or more, and Anthony Rizzo and DJ LeMahieu both making over $15 million.
This is on top of the fact that the Yankees have reported interest in Japanese superstar pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto along with trade talks for Padres outfielder Juan Soto.
The Yankees may need to look for home-grown options at third base
With all of this investment in free agents along or large extensions such as Aaron Judge’s $360 million contract, the New York Yankees and Hal Steinbrenner need to look at options within the organization to plug holes in several positions in 2024.
After the departure of Josh Donaldson, the Yankees could look to Oswald Peraza to fill that gap in the near future.
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Peraza needs big league at-bats
The biggest problem with Peraza’s management by the Yankees’ staff was the inconsistency of playtime as a major league player, with a limited stint in 2022, and a back-and-fourth stint in 2023. Since 2022, Peraza has 729 Triple-A plate appearances, with 33 total home runs, and a 107 wRC+. With this amount of time in Triple-A, along with the beneficial results every time he’s sent down there, it may be time to completely graduate Peraza to the MLB.
Peraza’s limited stint in the big league hasn’t been as successful as hoped. In his 51 plate appearances in 2022, he had a 147 wRC+ on a very limited sample in September and early October. But in 2023, his 191 plate appearances generated a 53 wRC+ and a -0.3 fWAR. This comes from an inability to turn on fastballs, with a .083 batting average and .133 slugging percentage in 2023.
Despite the shortcomings, Peraza was still unable to get a large number of at-bats to be fully evaluated, with the main issue being the occupation of third base by either Donaldson or DJ LeMahieu. General Manager Brian Cashman responded to reporters on Nov.7 regarding Peraza’s use in the big leagues, and if it’s due to his lack of production thus far.
“Peraza’s not getting everyday reps, he’s got Gleyber, he’s got Volpe now, he’s got LeMahieu, prior to that was Donaldson,” Cashman said
With the departure of Donaldson, along with the uncertainty of Anthony Rizzo’s condition at first base, Peraza is in a perfect position to get at-bats so that the Yankee staff can properly evaluate him.
The Yankees’ youth movement
A main mover for the Yankees to plug in Peraza is their ongoing youth movement from their farm system to the major leagues. In 2023 alone, Anthony Volpe, Austin Wells, Jasson Dominguez, and Everson Pereira all were called up to plug injured players along with giving the prospects a chance to show the Yankees staff what they got.
All of these players were able to show flashes of starting potential in their limited stint from August to early October and were the highlight of a lost season at that point.
Peraza filling a spot left by Donaldson and possibly vacated by DJ LeMahieu is a step in a new direction the Yankees could be moving in, with prospects Spencer Jones, Drew Thorpe, and Chase Hampton all knocking on the door soon.