Baltimore Orioles Rumors: Birds In On Jose Peraza
The Baltimore Orioles have their eyes on another middle infield target, plus some news and notes from day two of the Winter Meetings.
Day two of the Winter Meetings didn’t bring much excitement for Baltimore Orioles fans, in fact, it didn’t bring much of anything outside of one confirmed rumor from MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand. We’ll dive into that juicy rumor in a moment.
Orioles general manager Mike Elias did speak to reporters again to close out the day’s activities, providing updates on a few players, including Chris Davis, DJ Stewart, and 2019 International League MVP Ryan Mountcastle.
According to Elias, the Orioles have spoken to Scott Boras and his team about how to help the once-feared first baseman, which we all know isn’t going to bear any fruit. Davis has been a tremendous asset to the Baltimore community during his time in Birdland, but I think we’re all in agreement that he should have been off the roster a long time ago.
DJ Stewart is now recovering from October ankle surgery and is still expected to miss the first month or more of the regular season. His at-bats are likely to be spread among internal outfield options, including Dwight Smith Jr.and Anthony Santander, with Ryan Mountcastle and Yusniel Diaz seeing plenty of action in spring training.
Speaking of Mountcastle, we could see him travel all around the field this spring, including both corner outfield spots, first base, and third base. Mountcastle spent the majority of his time in the outfield to close out his first season in Triple-A, but played a fairly decent first base throughout the first three-quarters of 2019. He’s still just 22, so whatever gets him major league at-bats. As the roster shakes itself out and Mountcastle settles in at the plate, his position on defense will become more clear.
In former Orioles news, RHP Kevin Gausman has found himself a new job after being non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds a few weeks ago.
Gausman signed a one-year deal for $9 million, gets to pitch in a pitcher-friendly ballpark, and will have the opportunity to re-establish himself as a starting pitcher out west. I’m happy for him and wish him much success in 2020.
Are the Baltimore Orioles in on infielder Jose Peraza?
More from Birds Watcher
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
Now, more about that juicy rumor. According to MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand, the Orioles are one of four teams in on former Cincinnati Reds infielder Jose Peraza.
We discussed Peraza as a possible middle infield option at length a few days ago. I encourage you to read that post here. To highlight, Peraza had a breakout season in 2018, slashing .288/.326/.416 with 14 home runs, a wRC+ of 96, and a 2.6 fWAR. The 25-year-old middle infielder is now looking for a new job after spending the last four seasons in Cincinnati and hitting a roadblock in 2019.
Peraza was worth -0.6 Wins Above Replacement last season, slashing .239/.285/.346 with just six home runs and a wRC+ of 62 across 141 games. Despite the down year, Peraza is still young (25), has an option remaining, and saw some time in the outfield last season, increasing his versatility on defense. He’s been right around a league-average defender at second base in his career and is coming off his best season defensively at shortstop (3 Defensive Runs Saved, 1.5 Ultimate Zone Rating).
Affordable and versatile, just the Baltimore Orioles like their prospective free agent targets. Adeiny Hechavarria has also been connected to the Orioles this offseason, presenting two different options. While Hechavarria is an established veteran with a plus-glove, Peraza has a bit more upside and youth on his side.
With the free agent market much more active than in recent seasons, will Mike Elias come back home with a brand new middle infielder?
With Wednesday being the last full day of the Winter Meetings, expect to see a lot of movement before teams wrap things up Thursday morning with the Rule 5 draft.