KC Royals will be sellers if these 5 players don’t step up now

The road trip was a real bummer, man.
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C Salvador Perez

It was this time last month that Royals fans discussed having not one, but two MVP candidates. Catcher and team captain Salvador Perez had seemingly rebounded from a rough 2023 season back into elite form, staking his claim once again as the game's top catcher.

Yet, like that 15-game buffer above .500, those memories disappeared quickly.

Perez is slashing .156/.224/.222 across the last 13 games, while collecting a team-leading 13 strikeouts in that same span. His four strikeouts saw him appropriately sport the golden sombrero in Globe Life Field. The 34-year-old veteran's calling card earlier this season was his plate discipline, no longer being burdened with the entire offensive output in the Royals lineup. Now, that plate discipline has waned and drug down the Royals with it.

Perez remains above-average behind the plate, but his powerful bat is where his real value lies. He only has one extra-base hit across the last 15 days, a three-run home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 14. The lineup above him is not doing their part to put men on base, but Perez certainly isn't doing his part to drive them in either.

While there are many other issues in this lineup, the team captain will have more expected of him down the stretch. This homestand marks the beginning of the Royals' journey to right the ship. Perez is a vocal leader, and that didn't change during the road trip. But he and Kansas City's other clubhouse leaders need to find the fight and fire this team displayed earlier this season if any hope remains for 2024.