Peralta spent the 2023 season with the Dodgers. The veteran inked a $6.5MM free agent pact with Los Angeles last winter. He struggled through one of the worst seasons of his 10-year big league career. Peralta hit .259/.294/.381 through 422 plate appearances. He continued to make plenty of contact but hit only seven home runs, his lowest full-season tally since a 2016 injury-wrecked campaign. His on-base and slugging marks were each the lowest of his career.
Injuries presumably played a role in that diminished production. At season’s end, Peralta underwent surgery to repair a flexor tendon tear in his throwing arm. Reports at the time suggested he was expected to return to throwing and hitting by March. It’s possible Peralta will be behind in Spring Training. At the very least, he’s coming off an atypical offseason.
Between the middling offensive output, the injury and Peralta’s age (36), he was limited to minor league offers. He’s a quality depth pickup who was a solid contributor as recently as 2022. Peralta combined for a slightly above-average .251/.316/.415 batting line in 490 plate appearances with the D-Backs and Rays two years ago. He has garnered solid grades for his left field defense throughout his career and secured a Gold Glove in 2019. Assuming his arm strength is intact after recovering from the flexor surgery, he should be a stable outfield defender.
The Cubs don’t have a clear path to everyday playing time in the corner outfield. Seiya Suzuki and Ian Happ have those positions settled. Peralta isn’t a candidate for center field, where Mike Tauchman and top prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong are the projected top options (at least pending Cody Bellinger’s free agent resolution). If Peralta cracks the MLB team, he’d add a strong veteran presence to the bench and could log some outfield reps on days when Suzuki or Happ get a breather at designated hitter.