It is not often that a 26 year old former starting shortstop lands with a team on a minor league deal, but that is exactly what happened with José Peraza. The 2018 starting shortstop for the Cincinnati Reds signed with the Mets late in 2020 after a decent, though unspectacular, stint with the Boston Red Sox, where he played all over the diamond.
The issues with Peraza are his defense and his lack of power. Defensively, it appears that his days of playing shortstop may be already over, as he hasn’t been a regular shortstop since starting 152 games at the position in 2018. Even when he was starting nearly every day, his .962 fielding percentage did not inspire much confidence. His best dWAR season was 2018, but he was worth just .6 defensive wins over replacement.
While shortstop doesn’t have the same offensive expectation as other positions, Peraza, in his last full season (2019), posted a .106 isolated slugging percentage, 257th out of 273 in the majors with a minimum of 300 plate appearances. For hard hit percentage, he was 264 out of 273. For some context, that puts him in league with players like Mallex Smith, Dee Gordon, Andrelton Simmons, and Lorenzo Cain, all of whom have other skills that mitigate their lack of power.
The only skill that Peraza really has that sets him apart is his versatility. While most of his 2020 was spent at second base for the Sox, he logged innings at short stop, left field, and third base, as well as DHing (?) for one game and pitching a third of an inning. This sort of a player always has value for a club, but with Jeff McNeil, Jonathan Villar, and Luis Guillorme on the roster, Peraza seems like a redundancy. That said, if a stint in Buffalo could re-establish his value, many teams down the road may need a player like Peraza to round out their roster, and the Mets may have a valuable asset to unload.