Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports
We know Salvador Perez needs more rest this season. It’s a topic that’s been addressed time and time again since the end of the World Series, although it looked like the Royals had a solution. Earlier this offseason, the Royals were considering using their backup catcher as a personal catcher for one of the starting pitchers. This way, Perez could have a scheduled day off every five or six days, which should keep him fresher for the second half of the season.
So much for that idea.
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Yesterday, Ned Yost and Dayton Moore scrapped their plan of having a personal catcher, insisting they would figure out Perez’s rest days as the season goes on. Moore suggested using a set schedule like that, without considering potential matchups, would be foolish.
Yost insists Perez will still get enough days off, especially in the middle of the season, when the team’s schedule doesn’t include many days without games.
While I understand the reasoning, I think there could be something else to the shift in plans. It’s possible that their pitching staff isn’t as comfortable working with Erik Kratz, and none of the starters want to have to pitch to him 30 times this season. Or perhaps the coaches haven’t loved what they’ve seen from their backup catcher options, and they feel it would be too much of a downgrade in 20% of the team’s games.
That’s pure speculation, of course, but the coaching staff has had plenty of time to mull over the idea, and they’re only shifting course just now, after a few weeks in camp. Maybe there’s more to it than what Yost and Moore are saying. Or maybe not. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what the reasoning is. What matters now is figuring out when to rest Perez and give him the best opportunity to help the team for the entire season.
The first month of the season has two scheduled off-days, and it’s common for at least another game or two to be rained out. In May, the Royals have four days off. So that’s six days without games in eight weeks for Perez to get some rest, without even taking a game off.
Now, there are some long stretches of games in those first two months, so he’ll need another couple of games off, at least. The Royals play every day from April 15 to May 3 – nineteen games in a row. Yost will need to put Perez on the bench at least twice during that stretch, if not three times.
They then have thirteen straight days with games, from May 5 to May 17. That’s another two days of rest. Following that run, the Royals will have four days off in a fifteen-day span, so it’s unlikely Yost would “need” to give Perez another game off, unless he wanted to take a day game after a night game, prior to an off-day, so the catcher can get a longer breather.
Looking at the first two months of the season, it should be easy to give Perez around 12 days of rest, and he would only need to miss a handful of games. As the weather heats up into June, July, and August, it will be even more important to keep Perez in the dugout every five days, and perhaps by then, Kratz will have proven he can handle himself at the plate and behind it. Maybe Chris Young or Kris Medlen take over a spot in the rotation, and they prefer pitching to the backup. Maybe Perez gets inj– nope, I’m not going down that road. Not today.
The point is, there are ways for Perez to get more rest this season, even without the personal catcher plan. Regardless of how they do it, it must be done. Literally everyone in baseball knows Perez shouldn’t play so much, and the Royals should have no problem making that happen in 2015. Yost said they’ll “figure it out.” For the sake of the Royals’ hopes this year, they’ll have to.