Yesterday, George A. King III of The New York Post opened the rumor mill, saying that the New York Yankees were in Gwinnett, Georgia to look in on Jose Peraza, the Atlanta Braves’ No. 1 overall prospect. The Atlanta Braves’ quickly squashed the rumors.
— David O’Brien (@DOBrienAJC) April 16, 2015
The question one has to ask is would this trade make any sense for the rebuilt Atlanta Braves? They completely deconstructed and then reconstructed their team this offseason behind new general manager John Hart and despite low expectations, came out surprisingly strong in the first week of the season. Does trading away their top prospect seem like the right direction to be going?
Until Yoan Moncada was signed by the Boston Red Sox, the 20-year old Peraza was the number one second base prospect in baseball (personally, I think he still may be). He is in the Top 40 on MLB and No. 27 on the Grading on the Curve Top 50. The Braves are building for a future at the new stadium, and Peraza looks to be the shining figure in that new mold. Getting rid of the 20-year old now, before even looking into what the possible return would be, seems silly.
Offensively, coming off of a breakout 2014 season (.318/.387/.497 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI) Refsnyder is there. Many Yankees’ faithful were very vocal in the fact that they wanted Refsnyder to supplant Stephen Drew at second base to start the season, but the Yankees’ brass knew the truth. Refsnyder’s defense is a work in progress, as he continues to transform from right fielder to second baseman. Jose Peraza, with his 50 grade arm and 60 grade defense, would solve that problem.
But what could the Yankees give in return? John Hart is obviously enthralled with young arms for his future rotation, and has already lured once-top pitching prospect Manny Banuelos away from the Yankees. The only other starting pitchers worth Peraza’s value would be righty Luis Severino (the Yankees No. 1 prospect) and lefty Ian Clarkin (the Yankees No. 6 prospect). While the Yankees have rarely been a team to declare prospects untouchable, with an aging and injury-prone starting rotation the past two seasons, Severino and Clarkin should be considered the centerpieces of the future and remain off the market.
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Another name brought up as trade bait for Peraza was Gary Sanchez. Sanchez was the Yankees No. 1 overall prospect heading into 2014. Since then, the 22-year old catcher, has shown little advancement and even some potential locker room problems with his attitude. It is far too early to call Sanchez a bust, but he alone would not be able to pry away Peraza from the Braves, especially with 23-year old catcher of the future Christian Bethancourt already seemingly locked in behind the plate.
Two other Yankees’ prospects that could lure Peraza away from the Braves would be their No. 2 prospect, right fielder Aaron Judge, and their No. 4 prospect, first baseman Greg Bird. Neither however make sense for the Yankees to trade away. Both are not far from being Major League ready. Both also play positions that are currently filled by elder statesmen who struggle to play a full season (Carlos Beltran in right and Mark Teixeira at first). They seem more valuable to the Yankees than Peraza would be.
Peraza would be an instant starter in New York. In Atlanta, however, the emergence of Jace Peterson at second base, acquired in the Justin Upton trade from the San Diego Padres, has made Peraza expendable for the right price. I simply don’t see the Yankees being able to make that price worth it.