Jace Peterson inked a two-year deal with the Oakland Athletics in free agency heading into 2023, and he was given the immediate chance to start and contribute to a young team. Peterson had his moments offensively, but his impact was best felt on the base paths and defensively until he was traded for a pitching prospect in late July.
Peterson agreed to a two-year, $9.5 million deal last December.
What were the expectations?
A seasoned veteran who can play multiple positions on the diamond, Peterson was expected to be an everyday starter and utility man for the A’s. Peterson was sought out to also be a mature leader for an infield group that didn’t have much big league service time under their belts.
Peterson’s 2023 stats align very closely with some of his career stats. A .221/.313/.324 hitter, Peterson also slugged six home runs and swiped 11 bases for the A’s. His average, K%, and BB% all hovered around his career average while on defense, Peterson played left field, third base, and second base for the A’s. After playing to a 0.5 WAR for a half season with the team, Peterson was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 31 for RHP Chad Patrick.
What went wrong? What went right?
Coming off a career 2022 with the Milwaukee Brewers where Peterson was a 2.3 WAR player, Peterson’s 2023 was a little odd. He struck out less and walked more compared to that season while totaling some of his best numbers in those areas career-wise. The biggest disparity in Peterson’s 2023 was his HardH%, 28.5%. This was 8% lower than his 2022 mark and 5% lower than his career average, which can be because of his offensive support on the Brewers vs. the A’s. Peterson pulled the ball 28.4% of the time compared to a 32% average while also using the opposite field 3% higher than usual, but in return Peterson had some of his weaker offensive numbers to date. On the defensive side, Peterson still proved to be a valuable and versatile glove who’s played every position but catcher in his career.
Peterson is under contract with the National League reigning champion Diamondbacks for 2024 as the team looks for a new starting third baseman. Peterson is definitely an option, but he slumped big-time in his tenure with the Diamondbacks last year so he could very well project as the same backup or utility man that he’s been used as all throughout his career.