How long will Salvador Perez remain with the KC Royals?

The Royals have discussed trading their popular catcher. Will they deal him away?
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

It appears, as hard as some may find it to believe, that the KC Royals seemed poised to trade Salvador Perez before the MLB Trade Deadline expired Tuesday afternoon.

But because Kansas City is a close-to-the-vest-type franchise that doesn't typically reveal the inside details of trades it doesn't make, all the facts and circumstances of what did, and didn't, happen with Perez are certain to remain secreted within the confines of the club's front office.

What is known, primarily via general manager J.J. Picollo's own words, is that trading Perez was more than just an idea, notion, passing thought, or mere hypothetical. The proof is in what he told KC beat writer Anne Rogers about the matter:

"It was a very complicated process that we still would have had to get approval from Salvy...It was worth going down the path, but we knew, with the team we were talking to, how complicated it was, and it was going to be hard to pull off."

With what team Picollo was discussing Perez isn't specified, but Rogers noted that "sources" suggested three teams—American League Central rival Chicago, AL West leader Texas, and Miami— had "checked in" on Perez.

That a deal didn't happen isn't particularly surprising. The Royals obviously covet Perez, who is not only their captain but also the team's backbone, a fan favorite (if not the fan favorite), and a major gate draw. There's also the matter of Perez's current contract, an $82 million deal that kicked in last season and, unless the club picks up its 2026 option, runs through 2025. The magnitude of the arrangement makes it unlikely that even well-to-do clubs will take on Perez without Kansas City agreeing to pay a good portion of his remaining salary.

How much, if any, the financially-conservative Royals would be willing to pay Perez to play somewhere is probably the biggest proverbial elephant in the trade room.

Then, and as Rogers' story points out, there's Perez's absolute right to reject any proposed trade. His isn't a personal contract-based no-trade clause—instead, his ability to turn down being traded arises from his 10&5 rights (he's a 10-year service time veteran whose last five seasons have been spent with one club only), and those rights arise from the collective bargaining agreement forged by the players union and the clubs.

Why didn't the KC Royals deal away Salvador Perez Tuesday?

This is the question of the day, but one that will almost certainly remain unanswered in detail forever. Perhaps, as Picollo seems to suggest, working out the details of a trade was a task too difficult or complex to tackle. Perhaps a deal was close to consummation, but time ran out. Perhaps the Royals wanted too much in return, or their potential trade partner wanted more from them, such as money to defray Perez's salary or additional players (or both), than Picollo and principal owner John Sherman were willing to part with.

Whatever happened, or didn't happen, scuttled any deal that may have been nearing fruition. Why Perez wasn't moved, though, simply begs a bigger question...

How long will Salvador Perez remain a member of the KC Royals?

With the trade deadline in baseball's rearview mirror until next summer, and the prohibition on major league trades that kicked in with its expiration and lasts until the World Series is over, speculation about Perez's future with the Royals will run rampant. Will he continue to call Kauffman Stadium his baseball home, or simply visit it occasionally with another club?

Picollo's acknowledgment that he was talking trade hints that his club's willingness to entertain moving their team captain runs far deeper than it once did. It's reasonable to presume that the general manager was operating Tuesday with Sherman's knowledge and assent, which means Perez is no longer untouchable.

Whether the club ever trades away the player who owns a team-record four Silver Sluggers, five Gold Gloves, shares the all-time franchise home run record, and landed his eighth All-Star berth this season, is something that won't be known until a deal happens or, in the absence of that, he retires.

What can be said, though, and as the events of Tuesday and Picollo's comments demonstrate, is that no trade involving Perez will be easy. The financial considerations alone could be problematic, and the catcher whose popularity with KC fandom is probably second only to George Brett's will be tough to cut ties with.

And because Perez's skills may be in decline (time will tell), trading him could become increasingly difficult even before age renders the task impossible.

So, what's the answer? How long will Perez be a Royal? Given Tuesday's developments, it's anybody's guess, and one of the most difficult things to predict about this perplexing team. We shall see; in the meantime, things will get interesting. And agonizing for many.

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