The Athletic's insiders predict 1 surprising Yankees free agent return

A two-year deal? Really?
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two
New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two / Winslow Townson/GettyImages

Want to know how weird this Yankees offseason is poised to be? The Athletic's Yankees insiders posited again on Monday that the team could bring back Frankie Montas on a "prove it" deal, and it didn't even register as odd to me. Didn't bat an eye. Sure. Welcome back.

Beyond Montas, who the Yankees seem determined to squeeze some value out of, there are plenty more familiar Yanks with longer pedigrees who will be hitting the open market this offseason, and most of them seem likely to be goners. Harrison Bader, once a four-year extension candidate, isn't even included among that group; after all, he was a Cincinnati Red more recently.

Still in New York's "exclusive negotiating window" (is that a real thing?): Montas, Luis Severino, Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Wandy Peralta, Zach McAllister, Luke Weaver and Keynan Middleton. At this moment, as the rest of baseball's big winners play through the postseason, Chris Kirschner and Brendan Kuty believe three of those players will return to the Yankees: Montas on a one-year pact, Middleton on the same deal, and Peralta on a two-year extension, despite wilting advanced metrics.

This team certainly is lefty-deficient in the bullpen, and Peralta is a reported leader of the unit, but ... that is surprising to hear, to say the least.

Yankees Free Agents: New York to extend Wandy Peralta?

Peralta probably will require a two-year deal for whoever comes to terms with him this winter, but the left-hander will be freshly 34 at the end of the contract. If there's anyone who can use his veteran savvy to age gracefully, it would ostensibly be Peralta, who doubles as a purveyor of black magic.

However, the advanced metrics state a pretty solid case in opposition to the signing. Peralta's walk percentage fell in the fourth percentile this season, and his middling expected BA (55th percentile) and expected ERA (28th percentile, 4.70) hint at a player who somehow danced around a significant number of free passes despite inducing a good deal of contact. He did so by limiting hard contact (88th percentile in average exit velocity), but even with that particular skill, you can't get away with cluttering the bases forever.

Or can you?

Peralta is an enigma, and has been the best kind of enigma during his Yankees tenure thus far. With a significant amount of bullpen turnover expected this offseason -- from Michael King: Starter to a potential Jonathan Loaisiga non-tender -- bringing back a stable piece of the core might be in the cards. In that case, cross your fingers and hope the advanced metrics dam never breaks.