The Red Sox have optioned infielder Jose Peraz to the alternate site.
MassLive’s Chris Cotillo confirmed that the Red Sox have optioned Peraza to the team’s alternate site in Pawtucket, bringing an end to the short-lived experiment.
The Red Sox scooped up Peraza last winter on a 1-year, $2.85 million deal after he was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds. The price tag was appealing for a front office desperate to scrape together a budget that would dip below the luxury tax threshold.
Peraza has the type of versatility the team values with the ability to fill three infield positions and roam the outfield in a pinch. He showed some upside a couple of years ago in Cincinnati so the Red Sox viewed this as a potential opportunity to buy low on the stock of a 26-year-old.
That plan failed spectacularly as Peraza performed even worse than the dismal production that led the Reds to give up on him. Peraza’s .225 batting average and .617 OPS are the lowest he’s produced since the brief seven-game stint he received with the Los Angeles Dodgers in his debut season back in 2015.
Peraza’s pitiful 62 wRC+ ranks 10th-worst among major league hitters with 120+ plate appearances this season. His .270 wOBA is 13th-worst in that sample and he’s next-to-last with a -0.5 WAR, per FanGraphs. Peraza is among the least valuable position players in baseball this year based on his production and the amount of playing time he received.
While he’s capable of moving around the field, Peraza almost exclusively played second base with the Red Sox. He saw a few brief appearances at shortstop and one at third base but Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers have those spots locked down. Peraza started seeing some time in the outfield following the trade that shipped Kevin Pillar out of town but that was more out of necessity.
Boston has better option to use at second base and his departure will open up more playing time for these deserving candidates. Michael Chavis has been struggling but his raw power gives him more upside and the Red Sox need to give him a long look as they wind down this lost season to see how he can factor into their future plans. Rule 5 pick Jonathan Arauz showed some potential with an August hitting streak before falling into a dismal slump this month. Newcomer Christian Arroyo should get some chances down the stretch to see what he can do.
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The crop of second base options has provided underwhelming production this season but Boston has plenty of depth. There’s no need to hang on to Peraza if he’s not part of their plans beyond this season.
The Red Sox technically have Peraza under team control until 2023 but they will presumably follow in the footsteps of Cincinnati by non-tendering him this offseason. It’s hard to imagine Boston bringing him back with a raise in arbitration when they have cheaper alternatives that can provide similar lukewarm production.
Peraza was a relatively low-risk option who won’t cost the Red Sox much despite that he didn’t pan out. The biggest loss is that signing him appeared to be part of why they were willing to move on from Brock Holt. They could have kept him at a similar price tag but never made much of an effort.
Granted, Holt struggled mightily before he was released by the Milwaukee Brewers but his bat has been heating up since latching on with the Washington Nationals. Clearly, the Brock Star still has something left in the tank. Even if he didn’t, at least he was beloved by the fans and his teammates. His presence in the dugout has a positive impact and keeping him around would have been a small step toward appeasing a frustrated fan base.
The Red Sox opted to go with the younger option over the proven commodity. That plan clearly failed. Chalk it up to one of many things that have gone terribly wrong for this club in 2020 but at least they can wash their hands of this mistake and not let it drag them down again next season.