Salvador Perez: Why the KC Royals should shut him down

Kansas City should make sure their captain sits out the rest of the season.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

I've watched and studied Salvador Perez ever since he broke in with the KC Royals in 2011, two seasons before he landed the first of his eight American League All-Star berths, three before his unforgettable shot down Kauffman Stadium's left field line propelled the club past the 2014 Wild Card game and to an amazing run that didn't end until Game Seven of the World Series, and four campaigns before his club won the World Series and he the Fall Classic's MVP award.

When it comes to Salvy, the good almost always outweighs the bad. That's why he's a five-time Gold Glover and owns more Silver Slugger awards than any other Royal, including George Brett.

He is, to put it simply, a joy to watch.

But now, I'm hoping I don't see him anywhere on the field for the rest of the season.

Here's why.

The KC Royals shouldn't let Salvador Perez play again this season

The will to play through thick and thin obviously drives Salvador Perez. Time and again throughout his career, he's tried valiantly to shake off injuries and stay on the field with his teammates. More times than any of us can count, he's played through his share of pain and discomfort; undoubtedly, he's taken the field when the better option was to stay on the bench.

And can anyone really provide an accurate estimate of how many times he's been bashed in the mask by foul balls, a hazardous risk inherent to, and inseparable from, the job catchers do — the resulting jars are always unmistakable, the risk of concussion ever-present.

So it was no surprise at all when Perez looked woozy and unsteady after being struck in the mask by a foul ball Saturday night. The Royals didn't immediately remove him from the game,

Staying on the field didn't last long, however. Perez departed for the clubhouse a few minutes later; much to the relief of everyone, the Royals reported later that night that he'd suffered a non-concussive head impact.

Concussions are tricky things, though, and it turns out Perez has one and is now on the seven-day concussion-related Injured List.

How Perez responds remains, of course, to be seen: some players recover quickly, some do not. But whether he's cleared to play the season's last week (the Royals finish the campaign a week from Sunday), isn't it best to shut Salvy down?

In my opinion, yes. I'm no doctor, but a medical degree isn't required to know that returning too soon from a concussion can do more harm than good, and Perez plays a position conducive to head injuries. Holding him out until spring training won't prevent future injury, but it will reduce the risk of present complications.

And although he seems to despise riding the pine, Perez deserves some time off. Yes, he's played first base more than ever this season, DH'd, and taken a day off now and then, but the rigors of catching 88 games as he has still take their toll.

Assuming he clears protocols and is declared ready to play, prying Perez away from the field won't be easy for manager Matt Quatraro. Perez's penchant for playing is legendary, his reluctance to watch and not play a hard fact. But he and the Royals have nothing to gain from Perez playing again this season — the club was, as a practical matter (and eventually a mathematical one), eliminated from the postseason long ago and has little chance of staving off the five losses that will make it the losingest team in franchise history. And Perez can probably use a head start on offseason rest.

Is there a silver lining? Yes, at least as much as there can be in these situations. Resting Perez will give the Royals a better look at now-primary catcher Logan Porter, who's impressed since they called him up a week ago, and Tyler Cropley, who they promoted from Double-A for a day after a fractured finger forced Freddy Fermin to the IL, then sent back to the minors to make room for Porter — Cropley returned Monday to fill Perez's roster spot.

More about the KC Royals