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Wandy Peralta leaves New York; signs with the Padres

The dependable left-hander was highly efficient during his time with the Yankees, but is now heading west.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox - Game Two Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

One of the Yankees’ free agents this winter was lefty reliever Wandy Peralta, who had done yeoman’s work out of the bullpen for them since coming over from San Francisco in early 2021. There had been talks of a reunion all offseason, but that will not come to pass.

Instead, Peralta will continue his career with the San Diego Padres. Ken Rosenthal and Dennis Lin of The Athletic reported that he will sign a four-year, $16.5 million contract with them. Interestingly, his agency managed to include three opt-outs in the four-year pact, so he could re-enter the market next year if he has a strong season with the Friars in 2024.

Peralta has a career ERA of 3.88, but it was only 2.82 in 165 games and 153 innings with the Yankees. He was a bit of a surprise success upon joining the Yankees in a seemingly-minor deal for outfielder Mike Tauchman on April 27, 2021.

The changeup artist showed tenacity in tight moments and had his biggest success during the AL East-winning season in 2022, especially in the ALDS against Cleveland. Remarkably, Peralta pitched all five games, saving one and notching a 0.667 WHIP in six frames as the Yankees dispatched the Guardians.

It’s important to note, however, that Peralta had issues throwing strikes last year, with a 5.0 BB/9, and posted a negative -0.5 fWAR in 54 frames (for those who prefer rWAR, that was a more forgiving 1.4). His 5.05 FIP was also a red flag. He has enough other aspects to his game that none of these statistics are necessarily a death knell, but it will be something for San Diego to monitor in 2024.

The Padres continue to reinforce their bullpen by signing Peralta; they also added Yuki Matsui, Woo-Suk Go, Enyel De Los Santos, and Luis Patiño. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Peralta’s once-former-and-now-current teammates Jhony Brito and Randy Vásquez pitch in out there as well after arriving in San Diego via the Juan Soto trade.

The Yankees, on the other hand, will now have to look elsewhere for that extra reliever. The market still presents a few opportunities, including the potential return of Keynan Middleton.