Yankees may have their long-term solution at third base after all

oswald peraza, yankees
Oct 20, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Oswald Peraza (91) throws to first base on a ground out by Houston Astros center fielder Chas McCormick (20) during the seventh inning in game two of the ALCS for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees refused to give Oswald Peraza any opportunities at third base in the minor-league System. They were keen on keeping him at shortstop and giving them a few opportunities at second base, but the hot corner was seemingly off-limits.

Based on that fact, it led most to believe that Peraza would be a potential trade piece or takeover at second base full-time, which would put Gleyber Torres on the outs. However, that narrative changed on Friday when the Yankees started Peraza at third, in which he looked solid in his first appearance.

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With veteran infielder Josh Donaldson suffering a setback with his hamstring injury, likely missing a few more weeks, this is a perfect opportunity for the Bombers to continue feeding third base reps to Peraza.

“We’ll let those things play out,” said Boone before Friday night’s game. “Right now there’s an opening for Peraza to get in there and he’s done a really nice job in his couple of games, earning more opportunities.”

The Yankees are liking what they’re seeing from Oswald Peraza:

The young defensive maestro has started his MLB season on a hot note, despite grounding out twice and fouling out to the catcher against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday. At the very least, he made contact on every at-bat and didn’t strike out, still maintaining a .385 OBP across the 13 plate appearances. He’s walking at a 15.4% clip and posted a 15.4% strikeout rate, showcasing his patience and swing discipline early on.

Having lost the starting shortstop position battle outright to Anthony Volpe, Peraza was looking for another way to make an impact, and if he performs well, it is possible he would maintain the job at third base, even when Donaldson returns from the hamstring issue.

Ultimately, Donaldson is earning $25 million, and it is hard to justify placing him on the bench unless a player like Peraza rises to the occasion and showcases dominant play on both sides of the ball. Before going down, Donaldson was hitting a measly .125 with a .176 OBP across 17 plate appearances. Of course, that sample size is tiny, but he’s coming off his worst season as a professional in 2022, hitting .222 with a .308 OBP and 15 homers with 62 RBIs.

The Yankees need a long-term solution on the hot corner, and Peraza has a great opportunity to take the job, solving a potential problem during free agency next year. Next year’s FA class is thin and doesn’t showcase any high-end talent after Manny Machado signed an extension with the Padres.