Several ideas were bounced around throughout the Kansas City Royals community as to who might be able to fill in for Salvador Perez behind the plate. It seems the Royals made their decision today, signing Martin Maldonado.
Earlier today, the Kansas City Royals signed catcher Martin Maldonado to a one-year contract. With Salvador Perez out for the season, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported that Maldonado will come to the Royals on a $2.5MM contract, and he will have the ability to earn up to $1.4MM in incentives.
From the moment it was announced Perez may need Tommy John surgery, speculation began on if the Kansas City Royals had ample replacement options within the organization. Both Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria were in talks of taking the top spot on the depth chart. Some even mentioned that Frank Schwindel might get some time behind the plate.
Unfortunately, neither player has much experience at the big league level. For a team that will be overall very young, adding another inexperienced player behind the plate would have been risky. Between both Gallagher and Viloria, they have played in just 45 major league games total.
Though some are skeptical of the move, it gives the young catchers more time in the minor leagues to. Maldonado could even be traded in July, as pointed out by MLB Trade Rumors. He doesn’t have the best numbers at the plate, but he does rank third among active catchers in the defensive runs saved statistic. He is behind just Buster Posey and Yadier Molina, according to Steve Adams of Trade Rumors.
His career slash sits at .220/.289/.350. While those numbers don’t read great, his strong presence behind the plate is what made him an attractive sign. Some people were thoroughly surprised that it took so long for a team to sign him this offseason. He was linked to the Astros earlier in the offseason and most recently the Mariners.
He has a home, now, with the Kansas City Royals. It is unclear what the plan will be for Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria for the time being, but it seems that Maldonado will be the one suiting up in catcher’s gear on opening day for the Royals.