Salvador Perez inked the largest contract in KC Royals history over the weekend and while Perez is a popular player, this deal could come back to bite the Royals.
One of the biggest storylines for the Kansas City Royals this past offseason was surrounding the future of Salvador Perez. This year marks the final year of his original contract, meaning he was set to be a free agent at season’s end.
The 30-year-old catcher has spent his entire career in Kansas City, so the Royals wanting to keep it that way wasn’t surprising. What was surprising was the amount of money the Royals signed him to — A whopping four-year deal worth $82 million, which is now the largest contract in Royals history (beating out Alex Gordon’s four-year deal worth $72 million that he signed back in 2016).
This extension feels a lot like that Gordon deal in that it’s rewarding Perez for what he’s done to this point and not for what he will do during this contract. Perez has been underpaid throughout his career and he deserves a nice chunk of change, but a four-year deal for a 30-year-old (soon-to-be 31-year-old) catcher with an injury history certainly worries me.
Will the KC Royals regret giving Salvador Perez this much money?
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Honestly, probably not.
Perez has been a huge part of the Kansas City Royals’ organization since he joined them as a teenager in 2006 and made his MLB debut in 2011. He won the World Series MVP in 2015 and was the one with the key hit in the Wild Card game that sent the Royals to their first divisional series in nearly three decades.
There’s no debating how important Perez is to this organization and even though this is a lot of money for an older catcher (and catchers take a beating), the franchise clearly wanted to give him one last nice payday before the end of his career.
Perez played well in the shortened 2020 season and that was important to see after he missed all of 2019 due to injury. He slashed .333/.353/.633 with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 150 at-bats through 37 games.
Seeing Perez do well offensively likely drove the Royals to offer him this deal and it must also mean they’re not the most confident in any of their catching prospects. MJ Melendez is the Royals’ No. 14 prospect and likely won’t be ready to come to the big leagues until 2023 at the earliest, so this gives him some more time to polish up his skills in the minor leagues before he’s expected to play a bigger role.
Best-case scenario with this contract is that Perez still plays well by the end of it, but even performing well for half of it would suffice. It wouldn’t be shocking if he’s not still catching by the end of the contract, as catchers tend to move to first base near the end of their careers due to the beating they take at the dish.
Worst-case scenario is that Perez goes on to perform like Alex Gordon did at the plate in the first three years of his massive deal. Gordon was still tip-top defensively though and that’d likely still be the case with Salvy. In an even worst-case scenario, maybe if Perez isn’t doing well, the team can trade him near the end of the deal and try to get the contract off the books.
The Royals wanted to reward their longest-tenured player with the largest deal in franchise history and they accomplished that. Will this deal end up working out or will it turn out more like Gordon’s deal did?
How do you feel about this contract, Royals fans?