The Tampa Bay Rays acquired some much-needed offense on Saturday, which will have a ripple effect on the Boston Red Sox.
The Rays traded catching prospect Christian Cerda for Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder David Peralta on Saturday. The left-hander hitter is batting .248 with 19 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs and 41 RBIs in 87 games this season. The 34-year-old corner outfielder has never made an All-Star game but has both a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove to his name.
The Rays currently rank 22nd in runs scored across Major League Baseball and No. 10 in the American League. The team also is without some key offensive pieces. Shortstop Wander Franco, center fielder Kevin Kiermaier, catchers Mike Zunino and Francisco Mejia, outfielder Manual Margot and designated hitter Harold Ramirez are all on the injured list.
Peralta will be an impact bat for the Rays as the American League Wild Card race heats up. The Red Sox are right behind them, 3 1/2 games to be exact. Peralta’s presence will be felt down the stretch run, and could impact Boston’s playoff hopes directly. Here’s how:
The Red Sox and Rays will face off nine more times in the regular season
One of the more obvious impacts Peralta will have on the Red Sox will be direct. The remaining games left in the American League East rivalry could decide one, or even two of the wild card spots. Peralta’s performance in those games will have an increased importance as injuries for both sides continue to mount. He’s one of the few established big leaguers that will be inserted into the Rays lineup.
The Rays are clinging onto the third wild card spot with dear life
While the head-to-head games will have the biggest impact on the Red Sox, a few timely hits or untimely outs could directly impact the standings. The Rays are 3-6 since the All-Star break and desperately need some juice if they want to stave off the Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Guardians and Red Sox.
The trade takes yet another slugger off the market
The first notable position player to be moved was former Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi, who was traded from the Kansas City Royals to the rival New York Yankees. With Peralta, two top bats are off the market.
Should the Red Sox buy, they’ll have fewer options to add to their lineup via trade, which not only lessens their pool but increases the draft packages to acquire those bats given their increasingly premium value.
If the Red Sox end up selling, they could add an influx of position players and have some of the top players on the trade block.
Regardless of how the market shapes up, any move inside the division will have an effect on the jam-packed standings.