The Tampa Bay Rays have added a much-needed power bat. The club has acquired veteran outfielder David Peralta from the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league catcher Christian Cerda. Both teams have announced the trade.
Peralta, 34, is in the final season of his contract. The D-Backs are loaded with young outfielders (Daulton Varsho, Alek Thomas, Pavin Smith, top prospect Corbin Carroll, etc.) so the only question was whether they’d move on from Peralta at the deadline, or when he became a free agent after the season. The trade deadline it is.
The lefty hitting Peralta owns a .248/.316/.460 batting line with 12 home runs this season, including a .268/.325/.498 line against right-handed pitchers. The Rays platoon as much as any team in baseball and odds are Peralta won’t face many left-handed pitchers the rest of the season. Peralta is also a sneaky good defensive outfielder.
Once a minor league pitcher with the St. Louis Cardinals, Peralta converted to a position player in an independent league after being released in May 2009. He then signed with the D-Backs as a minor league free agent in July 2013 and hit his way to the big leagues a year later. Peralta is a career .283/.340/.463 hitter in parts of nine seasons.
The Rays are currently without Wander Franco (wrist), Harold Ramirez (thumb), Manuel Margot (knee), Mike Zunino (shoulder), and others. They came into Saturday averaging only 4.11 runs per game, the ninth fewest in baseball. The offense badly needed a jolt and the outfield was an obvious place to add it.
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Saturday afternoon the Rays beat the Cleveland Guardians (TB 6, CLE 4) to open a 2.5-game lead over Cleveland for the third and final American League wild-card spot. Saturday’s win improved Tampa to 54-47.
The D-Backs are 45-54 and well out of the National League postseason race. They are expected to continue selling prior to Tuesday’s deadline, with veteran relievers Ian Kennedy and Mark Melancon candidates to be moved.
MLB.com does not rank Cerda, 19, among Tampa’s top 30 prospects. He is hitting .315/.464/.519 with two home runs and more walks (15) than strikeouts (12) in 20 rookie ball games this season.