The Rays added some help to their injury-plagued outfield mix, announcing the acquisition of veteran David Peralta from the D-backs. Minor league catcher Christian Cerda is headed to the Diamondbacks in return.
Peralta, 35 next month, has spent all nine seasons of his Major League career with the D-backs prior to this trade. The veteran lefty hitter has produced a solid .248/.316/.460 batting line this season (110 wRC+), connecting on a dozen homers, 19 doubles and two triples through 310 plate appearances. He’s striking out at a career-high 23.9% clip and drawing walks at a roughly average 8.7% rate that clocks in a percentage point higher than his career mark.
The D-backs signed Peralta to a three-year, $22MM extension in his final season before he would’ve reached free agency, and he’s playing out the final season of that contract now in 2022. Peralta is a pure rental for the Rays, then, but he’ll give them a much-needed outfield bat to plug into the lineup following injuries to Kevin Kiermaier, Manuel Margot and Harold Ramirez.
Peralta not only provides that crucial outfield reinforcement — he also provides the Rays with a noted boost against right-handed pitching. Tampa Bay has handled righties at only a league-average clip this season, but Peralta owns a .267/.325/.498 batting line against right-handers this year and a stout .295/.351/.492 output over the course of his career. He’s long been ineffective against left-handed pitching, however, and is batting just .114/.261/.200 against southpaws this year (albeit in a tiny sample of 35 plate appearances). As such, the Rays will surely shield him from left-handed opposition as much as possible.
While he’s not the slugger he was when he hit 30 homers in 2018 or the defender he was when he won a Gold Glove in 2019, Peralta is still a solid platoon bat with above-average defensive ratings in the corners. Arizona has used him primarily in left field this season, though the Rays may prefer him in right, given Randy Arozarena’s presence in left. Peralta has a career mark of +7 Defensive Runs Saved in 1435 innings of right field (and has been a scratch defender there, per Outs Above Average). His work in left field is more highly regarded, but Peralta shouldn’t hurt the Rays in either corner slot and also hits well enough to spend time at DH against righties.
Heading to the Diamondbacks is the 19-year-old Cerda, whom 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 developed into a prospect of some note. He signed a $325K bonus with Tampa Bay that summer, drawing praise from Baseball America for his plus arm, agility and intriguing power potential.
Because there was no minor league season in 2020, Cerda is playing in just his second season of pro ball. He’s spent the season with the Rays’ Rookie-level Florida Complex League affiliate and posted an impressive .315/.464/.519 batting line through his first 69 trips to the plate. Cerda played in the Dominican Summer League last season and slashed .218/.366/.338 in 164 trips to the plate. He’s caught 30 of 79 runners who’ve attempted to steal against him at this point in his young career — an excellent 38% rate.