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Does former top prospect Oswald Peraza have a future with the Yankees?

Oswald Peraza will face a tough road toward significant playing time with the Yankees this season.
Oswald Peraza will face a tough road toward significant playing time with the Yankees this season.

What was once a bright and promising future is now filled with plenty of uncertainty. After losing the spring training shortstop battle to Anthony Volpe in 2022, Oswald Peraza’s path to contribution in pinstripes was filled with roadblocks.

The 23-year-old was relegated to Triple-A where he played 63 games last season — slashing .268/.357/.479 — and appeared in just 52 games with the Yankees posting a .539 OPS in inconsistent playing time.

The smooth fielding Peraza was always touted for his defensive abilities at shortstop — reaching top prospect status mainly for how well he fielded his position. However, with Volpe taking home the Gold Glove Award in 2023, he has some stiff competition at his own position.

With the six-hole seemingly locked up for the foreseeable future, where exactly does Peraza fit?

Throughout last year’s ‘disaster’ of a season, Aaron Boone trotted Peraza all around the infield getting him experience at third and second base. However, those two positions are locked up for next season with DJ LeMahieu set to start at the hot corner and Gleyber Torres as their second baseman.

There are two logical options for the Yanks pertaining to their young infielder. One is rotating him around the infield all of next season as a utility man filling in for whoever needs a day off. The Yanks went into last season with three infielders for two spots as well while Josh Donaldson was on board and found enough playing time for all parties involved.

Torres is also entering a contract season, and the Yanks hardly seem to have the appetite to pay what would be required to keep him — judging from the number of trade rumors that have swirled around the second baseman throughout the past two seasons. Keeping Peraza on board this year and having him in the plans of their middle-infield for the years to come is one option for the Yanks.

What Brian Cashman and company have to decide is if Peraza is more valuable as a utility infielder in 2024 or as the centerpiece for a trade to help rebuild their starting rotation after missing out on Japanese star Yoshinobu Yamamoto.

The Yankees are clearly pushing all of their chips to the middle of the table for 2024. That was made clear when they shipped out Michael King, Jhony Brito, Randy Vasquez and Drew Thorpe for one guaranteed season of Juan Soto leaving their pitching depth vulnerable. King, Brito and Vasquez combined for 232.2 innings in 2023 that are going to need to be filled.

Major league shortstops are always in high demand, especially ones that have plenty of team control with somewhat promising status. Dangling Peraza on the trade market could provide the most value for the all-in Yankees next season who are loudly pursuing help with their starting rotation.

The starting pitching trade market includes All-Stars Corbin Burnes, Dylan Cease and plenty of others with rumored availability that could fortify Boone’s staff.

The Yanks have to make a decision regarding Peraza before entering the 2024 season. Is he more valuable on a win-now team or is what he could bring back more helpful in the all-in pursuit of their 28th championship?