The KC Royals may not have much to celebrate, but catcher Salvador Perez should be celebrating this career milestone. After today's game against the Toronto Blue Jays, the 33-year-old surpassed 10,000 career innings caught behind the plate. If that sounds like a lot, that is because it is.
Salvador Perez continues his journey as the KC Royals best catcher ever.
The feat also made Royals history. Perez is the first Kansas City player to achieve the milestone, according to Royals official Ian Kraft. Royals play-by-play broadcaster Jake Eisenberg doubled down on how special this moment is, showing the short list that Perez is joining.
Perez has the most innings among all active catchers, thanks to Yadier Molina's retirement after last season. The long-time St. Louis Cardinals catcher had the fourth-most innings behind the plate of all time, with 18,294 2/3 innings. The state of Missouri seems to have a very healthy history with professional catchers.
This is likely not the end of Perez's time catching, either. While he is looking comfortable at first base, the Royals just placed catcher Freddy Fermin on the 10-day injured list. The team did select Tyler Cropley from Double-A Northwest Arkansas, but Fermin's absence likely puts Perez behind the plate full-time once again.
Perez has the potential to climb the all-time list even more this season. He can pass Rick Cerone for the 42nd most innings caught if he is the Royals' exclusive catcher for the remaining games.
This benchmark only adds to Perez's status as the Royals' best catcher ever. He is already the franchise's most productive catcher, with 244 home runs, 796 RBIs, and 1,395 hits. He has a case for being the better defensive catcher as well, with 619 assists and 225 runners caught stealing as a catcher. Both of those metrics lead all active catchers.
It is important to recognize these marks as the 2023 season comes to a close. The possibility of Kansas City trading away Perez seems very real, if not still improbable. Multiple teams, including the Miami Marlins and Chicago White Sox, expressed interest in trading for the eight-time All-Star. If Perez's time in a Royals uniform is coming to a close, his impact and truly heroic performance should be celebrated.