Padres sign former Yankees reliever to a truly weird free agent contract

San Diego continues to beef up their bullpen this offseason.
Jun 13, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Wandy Peralta (58)
Jun 13, 2023; New York City, New York, USA; New York Yankees relief pitcher Wandy Peralta (58) / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Spring training for the San Diego Padres is just a couple of weeks away and the Padres still have some unanswered questions. The Padres' rotation certainly has some opportunities at a couple of spots, and adding another outfielder with the departures of Juan Soto and Trent Grisham would probably be wise. However, another unsung need is to fill out the rest of their bullpen.

Unlike the other roster areas in need of some love, San Diego has actually made a fair bit of progress in overhauling their bullpen. Earlier in the offseason, the Padres added Woo Suk Go and Yuki Matsui who both, in theory, have the stuff to handle the later innings that were previously covered by Josh Hader. However, general manager AJ Preller saw a prime opportunity to do more and took it, as San Diego signed Wandy Peralta to a very odd four-year deal.

Padres News: San Diego continues focus on their bullpen with Wandy Peralta deal

At surface value, this deal seems to be a very good one for the Padres. Not all the details have yet been released, but Peralta is coming off a very successful nearly three-year stint with the Yankees from 2021-2023. Just last season, he posted a 2.83 ERA in 63 appearances while boasting excellent peripherals in terms of keeping the ball on the ground, limiting hard contact, and getting hitters to chase out of the zone. His FIP? Not so fantastic, hovering above 5.00.

Where this deal gets weird, though, is with the opt-outs. There are a lot of them. Wandy can presumably opt out after any of the first three years of his deal. While a little over $4 million a year for a reliever of his caliber is a great value to the Padres, how those opt-outs work is going to matter a lot. If there are some set conditions that need to exist for the opt outs to be triggered, that looks much better for the team. If they are pure player opt-outs that he can choose to exercise any time, this could quickly become a one year deal for $4 million if he pitches well, which is far less exciting.

Either way, the Padres made a savvy signing here. Peralta is a productive lefty reliever signed at a very reasonable cost and further added to an area of strength for San Diego going into 2024. How the front office executes their game plan the rest of the offseason will determine how valuable having a good bullpen will actually be.

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