Before tonight’s series opener against Arizona, the Yankees announced that lefty reliever Wandy Peralta is headed to the IL with a triceps strain, ending his season. The bullpen staple hadn’t pitched in almost a week and manager Aaron Boone alluded to an injury issue yesterday when asked about him.
In a corresponding move, pitching prospect Yoendrys Gómez was recalled from Double-A to fill Peralta’s spot for the final week and change of the 2023 season. He had been scheduled to start for Somerset tonight in the Eastern League Division Series, but the Patriots’ season ended yesterday before a Game 3 was reached. The Yankees elected to keep it simple and tap someone already on the 40-man roster in Gómez rather than add anyone from Triple-A.
Prior to tonight’s game, the Yankees made the following roster moves:— Yankees PR Dept. (@YankeesPR) September 22, 2023
•Recalled RHP Yoendrys Gómez (#94) from Double-A Somerset.
•Placed LHP Wandy Peralta on the 15-day injured list (retroactive to 9/19) with a left triceps strain.
Gómez has been protected on the 40-man since November 2020, but has batted injuries over the past few years. The right-hander has looked solid in 2023 at Double-A, with a 3.58 ERA, 3.83 FIP, and 78 strikeouts in 65.1 innings, spread across 19 starts. Baseball America ranked him 21st in the Yankees’ system after a midseason update.
Peralta is a free agent after this season at 32 years old, and as a southpaw who dominates lefty power bats, he’ll likely get a modest contract in the offseason. GM Brian Cashman’s recent affinity with scrap-heap relief options means it’s unlikely the Yankees re-sign him. It’s still plausible, though, given his vital role in the success of the relief corps since coming over in a trade for reserve outfielder Mike Tauchman in early 2021. Peralta brought the intensity since his arrival — the lefty wears his heart on his sleeve and showed up in many crucial moments. His two previous organizations, the Reds and the Giants, both gave up on him, but Matt Blake saw more in Peralta. Notably, Peralta posted 8.2 innings in the 2022 playoffs, giving up only three earned runs.
Overall in pinstripes, Peralta has been a durable workhorse, clocking in 165 games combined over the last three seasons. His career-high 63 appearances this year prove that the excellent performance of this year’s Yankee bullpen is in large part thanks to Peralta. In 2023, in fact, lefties are batting just .138 against him. This year, he posted a staunch 2.83 ERA, and in fact his mark stayed below 3.00 during his Yankee career, but carries a FIP above five in 2023, indicating some serious luck on hard-hit balls.
If this is it for Wandy in the Bronx, he’s done everything fans have asked of him and more. He’d be a boon to keep around, but it’s only a possibility if Cashman starts spending significantly on bullpen options again. If another team outbids Cashman for his services, fare thee well Wandy, and we’ll remember most fondly the gutsy performance against the Guardians in the 2022 ALDS. Peralta is a bona fide big league bullpen stalwart, and he deserves to get paid like one.