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David Peralta has surgery on left elbow

Dodgers outfielder David Peralta had surgery on his left elbow, he revealed in an Instagram story on Tuesday night, posting a picture of himself from a hospital bed wearing a brace on his left arm.

David Peralta posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed with his left elbow in a brace on Instagram on October 24, 2023.
David Peralta posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed with his left elbow in a brace on Instagram on October 24, 2023.
From David Peralta’s Instagram

On Wednesday, Jack Harris of the Los Angeles Times offered a little more detail, that Peralta’s surgery was a flexor tendon repair.

Peralta hit .259/.294/.381 with an 82 wRC+ in a platoon role this season for the Dodgers, starting in 102 of the team’s 113 games against right-handed pitching.

He is among the top three finishers for the National League Gold Glove Award in left field, with results coming on November 5.

Peralta, who turned 36 in August, will be a free agent the day after the World Series ends, after his one-year, $6.5-million contract. Peralta also earned an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses, $500,000 for each of 90, 120, and 150 days on the active roster. Which brings us back to the timing of his elbow injury.

After the All-Star break, around which Peralta reportedly started dealing with this injury, he hit just .231/.259/.319 with 16 doubles, no home runs, and a 54 wRC+, a batting line that is basically unplayable. But Peralta kept playing, starting 44 of 48 games against right-handers plus once against a left-handed starter.

He was also hit by a pitch on that left elbow on September 10 in Washington D.C. against the Nationals. He left that game and missed the next one, and then had eight hits in his final 47 at-bats of the season, hitting .170/.188/.277 in his last 15 games.

Peralta started all three games of the NLDS, collecting one hit in his six at-bats. That hit was a double, making him one of just three Dodgers with an extra-base hit in the series.

There’s a nobility in showing up to work every day, and a measure of respect is earned within the clubhouse for playing through pain. Just ask Tony Gonsolin, who was revered for pitching through a torn ligament in his elbow. They knew Tommy John surgery was coming, and the only thing hurt by continuing to pitch was his stat line.

Gonsolin had a 6.28 ERA in a 10-start stretch, and that was before allowing 10 runs in his final start of the season in August. That was Gonsolin’s 20th start, triggering the latest of a series of bonuses earned by pitching through the injury. In all, Gonsolin added $2 million to his base salary for 2024, which is now $5.4 million.

“It was more of a mutual setup, where he was rewarded financially for it, knowing he was going to miss the next year,” Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said last week at Dodger Stadium.

Similarly, Peralta was active for all 186 days of the regular season. It would have taken a long injured list stint for him to miss out on his last roster bonus. At worst, shutting him down in the second half would have cost him $1 million. It’s unclear whether rest would have mattered in terms of the 2023 season, but what did happen is that Peralta did not play well after the All-Star break.

Maybe the Dodgers didn’t have other viable pitching options for Gonsolin at the time, at least until August. But they did have left field options other than an injured Peralta in the second half. But it would be nice to have incentives lined up such that trotting out encumbered players isn’t the default.