Red Sox Signing of Jose Peraza A Sign of Change

Jose Peraza

Profile of New Boston Red Sox Player Jose Peraza

The Boston Red Sox made a small move on Thursday when they signed infielder Jose Peraza. The deal is worth $3 million as a base salary. Peraza is coming off of a down year in 2019, and a generally underwhelming career. He profiles as the typical value deal that Chief Baseball Officer, Chaim Bloom, would have done in Tampa Bay. Peraza fits in with Boston from a positional standpoint. Unfortunately, it might be a sign of things to come for the Red Sox, given the payroll situation and the man at the helm. That being said, it is a far cry from the Red Sox people are used to.

The Fit

The Red Sox, notably, had some free agents departing this year. One of those is utility man Brock Holt. Holt is capable of playing seven positions and really can slot anywhere for any team outside of catching and pitching. He brings enough value with his bat, slashing .297/.369/.402 and not a whole lot of pop in the bat. It is consistent enough that a team can find value in him. MLB Trade Rumors projected Brock Holt to get two years and $8 million.

Jose Peraza can potentially offer the same type of value. The Red Sox need to key in on what made him successful in 2018, as that was his best season. He is entering his age 26 season, and could very well right the ship from what 2019 was for him and could blossom.

Peraza is also a middle infielder by trade, so if Dustin Pedroia were not seen as a viable option, he could fill in. With three years of club control added into that, it makes sense for the Red Sox to do this move from a low-cost standpoint.

Jose Peraza Strengths

Most of Jose Peraza’s strengths were shown in 2018. Speed is a key strength for the 26-year-old. Between 2016-2018 he stole 67 bases. That is an upgrade alone for the Red Sox. In the 2018 season, he would have been second on the team to a Mookie Betts in swiped bags. 

Peraza also excels at putting the ball in play. He is a low strikeout guy, with a 14.4 K% in 2019. That percentage puts him in the same area as Mookie Betts for a team comparison in strikeouts. There also seems to be a bit of pop in his bat. During his 2018 season, he hit 15 home runs, which is something that utility players usually don’t offer.

The Weaknesses

Peraza will never get on base at a decent clip. His 4.2 BB% in 2019 puts him at 9th worst in the league among those players with at least 400 plate appearances. If you look at what Dee Gordon offers in the strikeouts and walks department, that’s about what Jose Peraza is at.

Examining His 2018 and 2019

It was really the tale of two seasons. He didn’t hit for the same power or average and didn’t run all that much. When looking at his peripherals, he saw most of the same types of pitches, and there wasn’t a stark change in that. One thing that is noticeable though is his batting average on balls in play. During the 2018 season, it was .309. His 2019 average was .269. That is enough of a swing that could cause some issues in his slash line.

Interestingly, during the month of April, Peraza struck out 19 times in 92 plate appearances. Something just didn’t seem right at the plate for him at the beginning of the year, and even after a decent final four months, the damage had been done to his stats for the year.

Conclusion

The Red Sox are operating in a sphere that fans are not used to. Jose Peraza hasn’t had much of any success at the big league level. However, this is the type of signing that Chaim Bloom and the Tampa Bay Rays have always been known for.

For Peraza, being young leaves reason to be optimistic. It is possible that he could live up to the hype that was given to him as a prospect. The Red Sox will need to unlock something for that to be true. If they do, he could be a serviceable replacement for Brock Holt.

However, it sure does not feel like the way a team that won the World Series in 2018 should be operating. Peraza represents only small cost savings from what Brock Holt could provide. It is targeting potential instead of using a known commodity. Red Sox fans aren’t used to that happening, but it is something to expect going forward.

 


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