The Diamondbacks acquired infielder Jace Peterson and cash from the A’s for minor league pitcher Chad Patrick, the clubs announced. Arizona had an opening on the 40-man roster after dealing Josh Rojas and Dominic Canzone in this afternoon’s Paul Sewald trade.
Peterson is largely a Rojas replacement. He’s a left-handed hitting infielder who splits most of his time between third and second base. Between Rojas’ departure and the recent injury to Evan Longoria, the D-Backs had lost some depth at the hot corner. Emmanuel Rivera is the primary starter. He’s a right-handed hitter who has been quite a bit better against southpaws, so Peterson makes sense as a matchup complement.
The 33-year-old joined the A’s on a two-year, $9.5MM free agent deal last winter. He’d been a roughly league average hitter — albeit with minimal exposure to left-handed pitching — over three seasons with Milwaukee. Peterson hasn’t maintained that form over a more regular role in Oakland. He’s hitting .221/.313/.324 with six homers over 324 trips to the plate.
That below-average offense is largely thanks to a dip in batted ball quality. Peterson is still walking at an excellent 11.1% clip, while his 23.8% strikeout rate is in line with prior marks. Yet he’s making hard contact on only 28.4% of batted balls — well below the 35-36% range of the prior couple seasons.
Much of those poor numbers are attributable to a dreadful start. The 10-year veteran carried a meager .192/.289/.278 batting line into June. He’s a .254/.340/.377 hitter over the last two months with more typical batted ball metrics. The Arizona front office isn’t much concerned by the slow start and adds Peterson to the infield mix.
Peterson is playing on a $4.5MM salary for 2023, $1.5MM of which is still to be paid out. He’s due $5MM for next season. The A’s will reportedly pick up $2M of next year’s salary while Arizona takes on what remains of this year’s sum. The deal pushes Arizona’s projected payroll just shy of $123MM, per Roster Resource.
In return for their relatively modest free agent investment and willingness to pay down some of the deal, the A’s add minor league rotation depth. Patrick was a fourth-round draftee out of Purdue-Northwest in 2021. The 6’1″ righty carries a 4.71 ERA with roughly average strikeout and walk numbers (22.9% and 9.2%, respectively) over 19 starts in Double-A. Eric Longenhagen of FanGraphs suggested last month he profiled as a spot starter on the strength of his slider command. Patrick turns 25 in August and won’t be eligible for the Rule 5 draft until after next season.
Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the financials.
Image courtesy of USA Today Sports.