The Rays added some help to their injury-plagued outfield mix and announced the acquisition of a veteran David Peralta from the D backs. Minor league catcher Christian Cerda goes to the Diamondbacks in return.
Peralta, who turns 35 next month, spent all nine seasons of his major league career with the D-Backs prior to this trade. The veteran left-hander has produced a solid .248/.316/.460 (110 wRC+) batting line this season, hitting a dozen homers, 19 doubles and two trebles on 310 plate appearances. He serves at a career high of 23.9% and records walks at a roughly average rate of 8.7%, which is a percentage point above his career mark.
The D-Backs signed Peralta to a three-year, $22 million extension in his final season before he would have reached free agency, and he’s now playing the final season of that contract in 2022. Peralta is a pure hire for the Rays , then, but he’ll give them a much-needed outfield stick to stick in the lineup after injuries Kevin Kiermaier, Manuel Margot and Harald Ramirez.
Not only does Peralta provide that crucial outfield boost — it also gives the Rays a notable boost against right-handed pitching. Tampa Bay has only handled righties at league averages this season, but Peralta owns a .267/.325/.498 batting line against righties this year and a strong .295/.351/.492 on-court performance in his career. However, he has long been ineffective against lefties, hitting just .114/.261/.200 against lefties this year (albeit in a tiny sample of 35 plate appearances). As such, the Rays will certainly protect him from left-handers as much as possible.
Though no longer the hitter he was when he hit 30 home runs in 2018 or the fullback he was when he won a Gold Glove in 2019, Peralta is still a solid platoon hitter with above-average defensive stats in his den corners. Arizona has used him primarily in left field this season, although the Rays may prefer him in right field Randy Arozarena‘s presence left. Peralta has a career mark of +7 defensive runs saved in 1,435 right field innings (and was a scratch defender there, as measured by above-average outs). His work in left field is more highly regarded, but Peralta shouldn’t hurt the Rays in a corner slot and also hits well enough to spend time at DH against righties.
On the way to the Rays is 19-year-old Cerda, who the Rays signed as an international free agent back in 2019. Cerda was actually born in New York but moved to the Dominican Republic in his early teens and became a prospect for some clues. That summer, he signed a $325,000 bonus with the Rays and was lauded by Baseball America for his plus arm, agility and intriguing strength potential.
With no minor league season in 2020, Cerda is only playing in his second professional season. He spent the season with the Florida Complex League affiliate at the Rays’ rookie level, hitting an impressive .315/.464/.519 on his first 69 trips to the plate. Cerda played in the Dominican Summer League last season and batted .218/.366/.338 in 164 trips. He’s caught 30 out of 79 runners attempting to steal against him at this point in his young career – an excellent 38% rate.