The Royals became the latest team to strike on the pitching market, adding righty Wily Peralta on a one-year deal, as Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star first reported (Twitter links). Peralta will receive a $1.525MM guarantee, $1.5MM of which will go to his 2018 salary. The remaining $25K is allocated to a buyout for a $3MM option for 2019. It’s also possible for Peralta to tack on another $1.25MM per season in performance incentives.
Peralta was outrighted in early August by the Brewers and then elected free agency at season’s end. That move came on the heels of a miserable 57 1/3-inning run in 2017, over which Peralta surrendered ten home runs and fifty earned runs. His departure brought a close to his six-year MLB run in Milwaukee, over which time he compiled a 4.48 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 with a 51.2% groundball rate.
The 28-year-old remains a somewhat intriguing bounceback option, though, for a variety of reasons. It has been some time since he was an effective starter, but he did spin 198 2/3 frames of 3.53 ERA ball back in 2014. And Peralta still brings the heat: in 2017, he averaged 96.5 mph with his four-seamer, matching a personal high. An optimist would surely point to Peralta’s meager 59.8% strand rate and lofty .362 BABIP in his most recent season.
Peralta figures to represent a swingman option for K.C., which GM Dayton Moore acknowledged in commenting on the signing to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (via Twitter). Moore indicates that he likes the idea of seeing how his power arsenal fares in the bullpen, while also noting that the club “will look at him as possible rotation depth as well.”
While the team’s plans aren’t yet fully clear, indications are that the Royals are heading for a rebuilding period. If that’s the case, it’s not hard to imagine Peralta functioning as a low-cost rotation piece — particularly if the club explores trades for high-priced starters Danny Duffy, Ian Kennedy, and Jason Hammel. The latter two, certainly, could only be moved if Kansas City is willing to hang onto some of their remaining obligations.
If, on the other hand, the Royals find themselves in position to bring back free agents Eric Hosmer and/or Mike Moustakas, and decide to hang on to closer Kelvin Herrera, perhaps Peralta could earn his way into the late-inning mix as a setup arm. This move really does not commit the organization in a particular direction, so there’s still quite a bit left to learn about how the Royals’ 2018 roster will shake out.