The New York Yankees reportedly dealt for Isiah Kiner-Falefa in the Josh Donaldson swap to keep the seat warm at shortstop for one of their super prospects — either Oswald Peraza or Anthony Volpe, depending on timing.
Considering Peraza started 2022 at Triple-A and Volpe began a level below, it seemed logical that Peraza would be first in line if the Yankees needed a midseason jolt, assuming he managed to conquer the level. Approaching mid-August, that jolt seems to be a week or so past due; the Yankees are just 9-16 in their past 25 games after racing to an historic 52-18 start, and Peraza is peaking, triple-slashing .333/.375/.533 in the month after hitting .300/.371/.563 in July.
If the second half has been a whirlwind of Yankee emotions, Sunday represented the eye of the hurricane, especially in the Peraza chase. Daily concern over whether or not he’d be promoted turned to a different type of concern after he was drilled in the hand by a wayward Triple-A pitch.
Frustrating? Absolutely. But like the center of a storm, the news also brought a serene calm. If the Yankees weren’t going to promote their budding shortstop, then at least the Baseball Gods had intervened and removed the possibility from the equation.
Peraza checked out fine. All reports, at the time, claimed that his removal was precautionary because of the area of impact, and mid-game X-rays revealed no broken bones. However, in the aftermath of that checkup, the prevailing narrative wasn’t that the Yankees had a second chance to make the right decision. Instead, Aaron Boone went on the offensive before Sunday’s game, noting only that Peraza is “putting himself in a position to certainly be in play” if the Yankees experience another injury setback.
In other words, the team doesn’t view him the same way the fanbase does. Get ready for a lot more IKF.
Yankees won’t call up Oswald Peraza to replace Isiah Kiner-Falefa (or Gleyber Torres)
Boone’s full quote on Peraza actually read as quite condescending, featuring repeated mentions of the future that seemed to gloss over any and all potential impact this season. Apparently, assuming Kiner-Falefa had been acquired as a “stopgap” was a leap to the conclusion the masses wanted to hear.
Despite Kiner-Falefa’s -3 outs above average, the front office is apparently still satisfied with what they see — or dissatisfied with Peraza’s present.
"“He’s putting together a strong season,” Boone said on Sunday morning before a 12-9 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. “Feel like he’s playing well after a little bit of a slow start. But we continue to be really excited about his future.”“He’s continued to build off what was a really strong 2021 season where he really established himself as a frontline prospect,” Boone said. “He’s built on that and put together to this point another strong season, and it’s been better as it’s gone. That’s been encouraging. He’s putting himself in a position to certainly be in play if something comes up now, later in the year. But certainly another momentum-building season toward what we envision as part of our middle infield.”"
Yes, a momentum-building season indeed.
Throwing a rookie in Peraza immediately into the big-league mix could potentially be risky, but with dead wood up and down the batting order in the form of Kiner-Falefa, Josh Donaldson, Aaron Hicks, Andrew Benintendi and, yes, Gleyber Torres, is it riskier than running out the current lineup while attempting to maintain a shrinking division lead?
According to Cashman and Co., apparently. Which doesn’t bode well for Peraza whatsoever. Ice that hand, but not too urgently.