Earlier today the Red Sox selected infielder Luis Arauz from the Astros organization in the Rule 5 draft to add to their infield depth. Now, they’ve added a little more. According to a report from Robert Murray, Boston has agreed to terms with infielder José Peraza.
Sources: #RedSox in agreement with free-agent infielder Jose Peraza.— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) December 12, 2019
The deal will be worth close to $3 million, plus incentives, per Jon Heyman.
Red Sox agree to deal with free agent infielder Jose Peraza. Close to 3M and incentives. @ByRobertMurray 1st with agreement— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 12, 2019
Peraza is a former top prospect who has been a part of a couple big three-team deals in the past. He settled in with the Reds starting in 2016 and he has spent most of his time in the major since then. The 25-year-old (he’ll turn 26 about a month into next season) is known mostly for his speed and he has three 20-steal seasons under his belt. Over his career he’s averaged about 22 steals per 150 games. He can also play either middle infield position (though the metrics much prefer him at second base) and he’s gotten some time in the outfield as well, where he’s graded out poorly.
Offensively, he is your prototypical speedy middle infielder is that he relies on contact to get on base. He doesn’t hit for much power and doesn’t walk very much, but he does put the ball in play and can use his legs to create a little more damage. It’s a profile that can work — he had a 96 wRC+ in 2018 and a 102 wRC+ in a half-season in 2016 — but it also lends itself to a whole lot of variance. To that end, he is coming off a season in which he finished with a 62 wRC+ and in 2017 he finsihed with a 61 wRC+. Unsurprisingly, batting average on balls in play tends to play an outsized role in his success at the plate. As the roster stands now, Peraza is the favorite to get the bulk of the time at second base, but his track record is not one that will stand in the way of others if they perform well.
The big impact here is, in fact, what it means for everyone else. With Arauz and Peraza, Tzu-Wei Lin may end up squeezed off the roster as he is out of minor-league options. Of course, Arauz isn’t exactly guaranteed a roster spot. Marco Hernández, meanwhile, has a two-way contract of sorts, so he’ll probably be on the outside looking in for a roster spot as camp breaks. If he has a strong camp, though, I suspect they’ll find room for him.
Most unfortunate is that this likely puts to bed a reunion with Brock Holt. It’s hard to see where they would fit him on the roster at this point. It’s terribly sad, but also not a major surprise given the goals of this offseason.
As for this signing in and of itself, though, it’s fine! Personally, Peraza is my favorite type of player so I’m happy. As far as strict, on-the-field value, though, it’s an average-at-best player who is probably more like a one-win guy if things go mildly well who signed for a contract that has a minimal effect on the budget. Again, that’s what this offseason seems to be about.