The Diamondbacks are in last place in the NL West, and already seem to be one of the teams who are looking ahead to 2022. To this end, “David Peralta is among the players the Diamondbacks have already made available,” FanSided’s Robert Murray hears from rival executives.
Peralta has been mentioned in past trade rumors over the years as the D’Backs have fluctuated between building and rebuilding, though the outfielder is now in the midst of his eighth season with Arizona. Unfortunately for the Snakes, moving Peralta (who turns 34 in August) right now could count as a sell-low proposition given his underwhelming start to the season.
Peralta is hitting only .245/.302/.409 over 225 plate appearances, and all three of those slash line statistics would represent new career lows. There aren’t many positives on Peralta’s 2021 Statcast profile, and his .278 xwOBA (compared to a .305 wOBA) suggests that he is perhaps even a bit fortunate to have achieved this modest level of production. According to Fangraphs, Peralta is making hard contact only 28.4% of the time (the lowest of his career) and his 55.6% grounder rate is the highest of his career. Never very productive against southpaws, the left-handed hitting Peralta has batted only .251/.311/.406 against right-handed pitching this season.
Even defensively, Peralta has a -6.4 UZR/150 and -3 Defensive Runs Saved over 452 innings in left field. His glovework has tended to be a little inconsistent through the years, but at his peak Peralta has been a very strong defender, even winning a Gold Glove in 2019.
Despite all these warning signs, there is still a case to made that Peralta represents an upgrade for any number of contending teams. Peralta was a solidly above-average offensive player over his first seven seasons, and a change of scenery could very well get him back on track. Contract-wise, Peralta is owed $7.5MM in 2022 and has roughly $4.76MM remaining on his 2021 salary, so he wouldn’t be too expensive an option for low-payroll club or a bigger-market team looking to stay under the luxury tax threshold.
Speculatively, teams like the Padres, Yankees, Braves, and (as Murray mentions) the Cardinals could all make sense as trade suitors for Peralta. The White Sox could also be a fit with Eloy Jimenez and Luis Robert still out of action, and since those two outfielders aren’t expected back for at least a couple more months, Chicago could be one of the teams that would benefit from the D’Backs taking an early plunge into the trade market.