Injury setback for Peraza muddies Yankees’ roster blueprint

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Yankees’ infield prospect Oswald Peraza, a pivotal component in the team’s plans for the upcoming season, has encountered a setback. Manager Aaron Boone revealed on Saturday that Peraza would commence the year on the injured list due to a subscapularis strain in his right shoulder. This announcement delivers a blow to both Peraza and the Yankees, necessitating the quest for a temporary replacement at shortstop.

Boone outlined that the injury mandates Peraza to refrain from throwing for a duration of 6-8 weeks. In the best-case scenario, he could potentially resume throwing by April 20th, a period well into the season, equating to approximately three and a half weeks. Following this, additional time will be requisite for Peraza to gradually ramp up before re-entering game action.

A return sometime in May would be regarded as a favorable development for the Yankees, considering this timeline.

Peraza’s injury derails Yankees’ backup plan for shortstop

Oswaldo Cabrera of the Yankees hit a home run against the Dodgers in LA on June 3, 2023, after his recall from AAA.

Peraza’s quest for a roster spot is temporarily paused due to his shoulder injury. Manager Aaron Boone provided a glimmer of optimism amidst this setback. While acknowledging that Peraza will miss a substantial portion of the season due to a shutdown period, Boone assured that opportunities for his contribution will arise later in the year. Fortunately, the core structures in Peraza’s shoulder appear to be healthy.

With Peraza sidelined, an opening arises at backup shortstop. One potential solution is utility player Oswaldo Cabrera. However, Boone emphasized Cabrera’s defensive versatility, suggesting that he may be required in multiple positions. Furthermore, Cabrera’s offensive consistency against major league pitching remains unproven.

Despite Cabrera’s impressive defensive prowess, his hitting requires refinement. Last season, he maintained a modest batting average of .211 and hit just five home runs across 115 games. His performance in early spring training hasn’t been encouraging either, as he has gone 1-for-23 at the plate.

Boone acknowledges that Cabrera has yet to find his rhythm. He stresses the importance of ongoing work and improvement on offense, expressing confidence in Cabrera’s potential despite his current slump.

In summary, Peraza’s injury presents an opportunity for Cabrera, but uncertainties persist regarding his offensive capabilities. The Yankees must weigh whether Cabrera can effectively fill the backup shortstop role or if they need to explore alternative options while Peraza recuperates.

With Oswald Peraza sidelined due to injury, the Yankees are exploring diverse options to fill the backup shortstop role, with several non-roster invitees and prospects contending for the spot.

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Among the contenders are seasoned infielders Josh VanMeter and Kevin Smith, both of whom possess major league experience. VanMeter has primarily featured at second and third base during spring training thus far, although his defensive experience at shortstop is limited. Nonetheless, his potent offensive approach presents a valuable asset. 

Manager Aaron Boone underscored VanMeter’s plate discipline, commending his capacity to control the strike zone and refrain from chasing bad pitches. Across his four-season career, VanMeter boasts a respectable On-Base Plus Slugging (OPS) of .640 across 300 games played.

However, should the Yankees opt for VanMeter, they might require a defensively dependable backup shortstop on the roster, potentially someone like Oswaldo Cabrera.

On the other hand, Kevin Smith offers greater defensive versatility, having logged playing time at shortstop throughout his career. Spending the past two seasons with the Oakland Athletics, Smith has accumulated a career OPS of .516 in 114 major league games. Boone highlighted Smith’s overall infield adaptability and proficiency at shortstop, coupled with his aptitude for making contact with the ball.

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AP

In sum, the Yankees have multiple options to contemplate for the backup shortstop role. While VanMeter provides a formidable offensive presence, Smith brings defensive experience at shortstop alongside his infield versatility. The team will need to carefully assess these attributes to determine the optimal fit for the position.

As Opening Day looms just three weeks away, the Yankees find themselves in a scramble to fill the void left by Oswald Peraza’s injury in the backup shortstop role. Manager Aaron Boone acknowledged the dynamic nature of the situation, indicating that numerous possibilities are still being considered ahead of the season opener.

Before Peraza’s setback, the Yankees had pursued infielders Kiké Hernandez and Amed Rosario, both of whom eventually signed with other teams (Dodgers and Rays, respectively). This unforeseen turn of events has prompted the team to reassess its options, which may include exploring external candidates.

Boone emphasized that the situation remains fluid, suggesting that the Yankees are actively monitoring both the trade market and the free agent pool for potential solutions.

Peraza devastated over injury

Oswald Peraza, player of the new york yankees
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

Expressing his sentiments through an interpreter, Peraza conveyed deep frustration regarding the situation. He underscored his fervent desire to contribute to the team’s triumphs but acknowledged the inherent helplessness associated with injuries. The early-season setback undoubtedly represents a disappointment for the promising young player.

Oswald Peraza had been striving to clinch a spot on the Opening Day roster as a versatile defensive backup, but a recent injury casts doubts on his immediate future with the team.

While Peraza had previously contended for the starting shortstop position last spring, Anthony Volpe ultimately secured the role. Moreover, Peraza’s limited opportunities at the major league level last season also raised concerns, with a modest batting average of .191 across 52 games.

Prior to the injury, Peraza’s path forward was uncertain. Possibilities ranged from securing a backup infielder role on the Yankees’ major league roster to being assigned to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for additional playing time and development.

However, the subscapularis strain now necessitates a shift in Peraza’s focus from roster competition or minor league advancement to rehabilitation. This setback significantly hampers his ability to contribute to the Yankees in the early stages of the season.

Amidst this uncertainty, one thing is certain: Peraza, a promising 23-year-old prospect, will be sidelined for at least the first month of the season. Despite his disappointment, Peraza has expressed his determination to secure a roster spot, even if it means serving in a backup role. However, he acknowledges that some factors are beyond his control and is now shifting his focus to recovery and a successful return to the field.

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