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Red Sox agree to deal with Jose Peraza

@IanMBrowne
December 16, 2019

SAN DIEGO -- The Red Sox erased some uncertainty at second base by striking an agreement with José Peraza for one year at roughly $3 million. The club announced the deal officially on Friday. One significant part of the pending transaction is that it likely signals the end of popular

SAN DIEGO -- The Red Sox erased some uncertainty at second base by striking an agreement with José Peraza for one year at roughly $3 million. The club announced the deal officially on Friday.

One significant part of the pending transaction is that it likely signals the end of popular utility player Brock Holt's time with the Red Sox.

Holt, a fixture in the community and a key contributor on the field in Boston since 2015, is a free agent.

Not only are the Sox adding the 25-year-old Peraza to their infield mix, but they also claimed Jonathan Arauz from the Astros with the 10th pick in Thursday's Rule 5 Draft. Arauz, a switch-hitter, can play second, short and third.

Peraza has similar versatility (he can play second, short and the outfield) and has been a regular in the lineup for the Reds the last three seasons.

The right-handed hitter from Venezuela had a career year for Cincinnati in 2018, slashing .288/.326/.416 with 14 homers, 58 RBIs and 23 stolen bases over 157 games and was Cincinnati's starting shortstop.

After the Reds acquired Jose Iglesias during Spring Training last season, Peraza lost his regular lineup spot and shifted to a utility role, where he was not as effective. In 376 at-bats, Peraza had a line of .239/.285/.346 with six homers and 33 RBIs. Last season, Peraza started 50 games at second, 22 at shortstop, one at third base and 15 in the outfield.

Peraza lost playing time and at one point in late August was optioned back to Triple-A. He will try to regain his groove in Boston.

He still showed 75th-percentile sprint speed (28 feet per second) last season, according to Statcast, and has primarily played shortstop over five big league seasons. Obviously, the Red Sox have that position covered with Xander Bogaerts signed for the next six years.

But Peraza should have a golden opportunity to earn playing time at second base. Michael Chavis could also be part of the mix at second.

Dustin Pedroia is again recovering from left knee surgery and his future is uncertain at best.

The Red Sox are clearly compiling a variety of options in the infield. Marco Hernandez and Tzu-Wei Lin are also in the mix and Arauz, 21, will need to win a roster spot to prevent Boston being forced to offer him back to the Astros, per rules of being a Rule 5 pick.

"He came to us highly recommended from our scouts and our analysts," Red Sox vice president of professional scouting Gus Quattlebaum said. "Younger guy. Switch-hitter. Versatile glove. We think we can bounce him all around the infield. Has some work to do physically to get stronger, but we like his bat-to-ball skills. We're excited to give him an opportunity to compete for a utility infield position."

It remains to be seen where Holt will wind up, but there will likely be a strong market for his services, considering all he can do both on and off the field.

With the Red Sox trying to cut $17 million to $18 million from their payroll this offseason to achieve ownership's goal of getting the below the luxury tax threshold of $208 million, it's hard to see Holt fitting into the team's plans.

"I know how much he means to the community. You could see just recently, he's still active in the community, even as a free agent, I saw he made a nice donation recently," said Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom. "That says something about who he is and how much this community means to him. I've kind of gotten a taste of it coming here that certain players just really seem to bond with the fan base. He's certainly been one of those. That's not something that's lost on any of us."

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.