Why the KC Royals did the right thing with Logan Porter

The catcher and his good bat are headed West.
Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Logan Porter swings a pretty good bat. He was complementing his career .279 minor league average and .404 OBP by slashing .319/.428/.575 for Triple-A Omaha until Friday, when he suddenly found himself out of the organization that signed him six years ago, then finally brought him to the majors late last season.

That the Royals traded Porter to San Francisco for cash isn't at all surprising. The move was inevitable, the handwriting on the wall. His time with the Royals was running out.

Why Logan Porter wasn't going anywhere with Kansas City

Porter seemed caught in a trap he couldn't escape — the Royals' organization teems with catchers, too many were in his way, and it appeared he wasn't in the club's long-term major league plans. Although he'll miss a bit of time with a knee issue, Salvador Perez continues to defy critics who considered him washed up and might end up having the best campaign of his career. Blake Mitchell, the club's top draft pick last year who MLB Pipeline says is its best prospect, is having a good season and could very well be fully big league-ready before Perez is ready to retire.

But things may not have hit home any faster or harder for Porter than last season when the Royals gave the job of backing up Perez to Freddy Fermin. Working on a non-roster invitation to spring training, Porter lit up Cactus League pitching with a .348 average and .444 OBP, numbers better than Fermin's .292 and .370, but not good enough to sway the club in his direction.

For Porter, the decision meant a return to Omaha, where he spent the entirety of the season until the Royals called him up for his first big league chance in mid-September. He hit his first, and so far only, big league homer, but went only 6-for-38 before the season ended.

Chances are, though, that Porter wouldn't have made it to Kauffman Stadium had Fermin not broken a finger. Kansas City had already added the two extra players teams get to carry in September; Porter wasn't one of them, but could have been if the Royals wanted to take a longer look at him.

But they apparently didn't. The Royals undoubtedly had their reasons for never giving Porter a significant shot at the big leagues, not the least of which is the collective current and future promise of their other major and minor league catchers. Maybe the club wasn't satisfied with his defense, or something else about his game troubled evaluators and decision-makers too much. The Royals are known to keep things close to the vest, so we'll probably never know.

Whatever the case might be, though, the Royals did the right thing when they dealt Porter to the Giants Friday.

Trading Logan Porter was definitely the correct move

First and foremost, the deal gives Porter a fresh start and a different path to the majors; San Francisco's doesn't appear to be a system bulging with catchers knocking on the big league door. The Giants assigned him to its Triple-A club at Sacramento where, interestingly enough, he'll reunite with catcher Jakson Reetz — they played together at Omaha in 2022 and 2023. Porter hasn't played for the River Cats yet, but it won't be long until he does.

And he'll likely see the majors sooner with the Giants than he would have with KC. In fact, even if the Royals hadn't moved him, they probably wouldn't have recalled him to back up Fermin until Perez returns — major league veteran Austin Nola, who the Royals did promote, was catching often at Omaha and has worked with Royal pitchers Seth Lugo and Michael Wacha before.

And there might be more to the deal than originally reported. MLB.com Royals beat writer Anne Rogers reported Saturday that Porter's Kansas City contract included an opt-out clause "...coming up that he was likely going to take..." Trading Porter before he had the chance to walk into free agency gave the Royals at least some return they wouldn't have otherwise received. So both player and club benefit from the deal.

In the end, though, why Kansas City made the move really doesn't matter. What does is that Porter gets to start anew, and deservedly so.

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