Some rumors circulating around the KC Royals might have good chances of bearing fruit.
Others do not. Count hints the club might trade Salvador Perez among them.
Yes, and despite the fact they should be self-squelching, rumors and speculation are out there among the offseason chatter and splatter. But don’t worry. The Royals aren’t trading Perez.
And why not?
The KC Royals don’t need the fan backlash a Salvador Perez trade will spawn.
Kansas City fans aren’t happy. The Royals haven’t had a winning campaign since 2015, have lost at least 100 games three times since, and barely avoided losing 100 again in 2022. It took the club too long to dismiss former manager Mike Matheny and former pitching coach Cal Eldred. And the perception that current management is too slow, or too cheap, to make player moves doesn’t help.
But the fastest way to further inflame an already disgruntled fanbase may be to trade Perez and his seven All-Star berths, five Gold Gloves, and club-record four Silver Sluggers. And imagine the negative reaction, if not fan mutiny, dealing away the team’s undisputed leader and most popular player would generate.
The KC Royals just aren’t prepared for life without Salvador Perez.
The Royals need Salvador Perez. It’s as simple as that. The club doesn’t have a catcher truly ready to take over for him on a regular basis.
MJ Melendez, for example, has a good, but still developing, bat, his defense behind the plate needs a lot of work, and his framing acumen is, so far and per Baseball Savant, actually worse than Perez’s notoriously substandard one.
Kansas City added Freddy Fermin to its 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft, a good sign for his future with the club, but he’s played in only three big league games and is far less prepared to be a major league catcher than Melendez.
And although prospect Logan Porter has minor league catching experience and is excellent at the plate, the Royals’ decision to leave him exposed in the Rule 5 suggests he may not be in their long-range plans. And no other backstops in the system have advanced far enough to be considered immediate catching solutions.
No, this isn’t the time to move Perez. This is a team striving to be competitive and, eventually, to win again. Perez, the club leader, is too big a part of that effort.
Salvador Perez’s contract could be too difficult for the KC Royals to move.
That the Royals signed Perez to the richest contract in club history, a four-year, $82 million deal that kicked in last season, wasn’t surprising. He is the best catcher in Kansas City history, a beloved Royal figure who is rightfully one of the most cherished players ever to wear Royal Blue.
Moving him would, of course, free up a lot of money and space on the Royals’ payroll. But how many clubs will relish the idea of assuming Perez’s big contract, especially considering 2023 will be his age 33-season and he’ll turn 35, a concerning career point for a catcher, during the deal’s final year? Perez’s skills are almost certain to decline at least a bit between now and then which, combined with its financial magnitude, makes taking on his contract a risk some clubs simply won’t take.
Salvador Perez is staying put. Trading him is too much of a monster move to make.