The Kansas City Royals need to find a successor for Salvador Perez sooner rather than later.
Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is 28 years old. Typically, that is not an age to be concerned about as many players are just coming into their prime at 28. However, for a veteran catcher who has been in the organization roughly since the age of 17, the mileage is building up.
According to Rustin Dodd’s article written in 2016 in the Kansas City Star concerning Perez’s contract, Perez is signed through the 2021 season.
Perez will be roughly 31 years old when the 2021 season begins. For an average 28-year-old player with less mileage on him, this should not be an issue. On the other hand, for a catcher with almost 15 years of time spent on his knees behind home plate, getting pegged with foul balls and throwing guys out (most beautifully I might add) at second base, the Royals might be asking too much of him.
Dodd makes several excellent points in his article about Perez; one point is interesting concerning Perez’s future. To summarize Perez in the article, he states he desires to retire a Royal and play out his career with KC. It could be understood that Perez’s 2016 contract would be his last contract with the Royals.
I can foresee Perez taking one more team friendly contract and playing out his career in a support role either on first base (not likely) or as the teams DH. Either way, the Royals will be ready to move on to the next catcher in 2021 or soon after as Perez’s health will not last forever as our catcher.
The University of Colorado at Boulder rolled out a study in 2007 stating “…the average career of a Major League Baseball player is 5.6 years…” Perez’s catching career started in the Royals organization when he was 17. However, his professional career started in 2011. Perez is already on borrowed time with Father Time as he enters the 2019 season.
As a huge fan of Perez as both a player and a person in our community, the Royals front office needs to handle Perez with care. Considering the same University of Colorado at Boulder study stated, “…that at every point of a player’s career, the player’s chance of ending his career is at least 11 percent.”
Note, 11 percent is for all positions, not just catcher. I would imagine that catchers who take more abuse than any other position on the field would be much higher than 11 percent.
At the end of the day, the future of catcher for the Kansas City Royals needs to be sought out right now. Not in a year from now, nor three years from now. A plan needs to be in place now. I believe that M.J. Melendez is the answer to the future catcher for the Royals.
Melendez is a hot commodity that we drafted in 2016 and will be a viable candidate to replace Perez once he hangs up the catcher’s gear. More on Melendez to come!