Without a doubt, there are some nights where New York Yankees fans wake up in a cold sweat wondering why Brian Cashman did absolutely nothing at the 2023 trade deadline when it was clear the team was headed nowhere (and no, acquiring Keynan Middleton doesn't qualify as "something").
To many, there were two clear options: make a few blockbuster trades to shake up the sleepwalking roster, or sell the assets that were set to hit free agency and not expected to return.
Reliever Wandy Peralta was one of those in the latter category. Bullpen pieces always fetch nice hauls at the deadline as contenders seek any and all pitching help to prepare for the stretch run and the playoffs. The Yankees had more, too. Peralta, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Domingo German, Luis Severino, Jake Bauers and Billy McKinney all could have (and should have) been moved for something.
Or else what was the reward? Two more months of limping along to watch all these players leave in some capacity for nothing in return? The Yanks got something for Bauers when they traded him to the Brewers this offseason, but a roster cleanse and infusion of new talent would've gone a long way back in August.
Turns out, the Padres, who ended up signing Peralta to a four-year, $16.5 million contract that the Yankees wouldn't match, had interest in trading for the left-hander before the deadline. And they were kind of desperate to contend in the NL Wild Card picture, so Cashman could've taken advantage of the Pads' flush farm system.
Previous Padres-Wandy Peralta rumors prove Yankees made costly error
Now, San Diego got its way and acquired Peralta for money alone. And at a salary the Yankees could've very much afforded! Peralta is making $3.35 million in the first year of his deal, which would've meant the Yankees, with their 100% luxury tax penalty, would've paid $6.7 million -- an affordable price for what Peralta brings to the table.
Instead, they pivoted and acquired both Victor González and Caleb Ferguson from the Los Angeles Dodgers, but both left-handers cost New York prospects in Trey Sweeney and Christain Zazueta Jr. Fans have generally approved of those transactions, but the two preferred options would've been trading Peralta for assets when there was a clear opportunity to do so, or reuniting with him in free agency on a contract that felt very reasonable.
It may not matter at all, but not trading a player with value that doesn't have a long-term outlook with the organization (and one the Yankees probably knew they were letting walk in free agency) while the team was on a crash course to miss the playoffs is malpractice by the front office.
And knowing Peralta had a decent amount of interest, especially from the team that ended up paying him, makes it all the more objectionable.