Salvy's Injury May be a Good Thing

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

At the risk of committing blasphemy, the season ending injury to Salvador Perez season may be a very good thing for the Royals pitching staff.

Before I am forced into sackcloth and ashes for being somewhat serene at the loss of a definite Royals Hall of Famer and, if you squint, maybe a Cooperstown inductee, let’s think for a moment about Jim Sundberg.

A light hitting but very good defensive catcher with a reputation of being quite adept at nursing young pitchers along, Sundberg was acquired in a trade before the 1985 season. Sound like a recent addition to the KC roster? You may recall the Royals had a group of youngsters on the mound with names like Saberhagen, Jackson, and Gubicza. Meanwhile, Charlie Liebrandt and Bud Black were just entering their prime.

All of those pitchers, except Black, showed significant improvement over their performance from 1984, and Sundberg’s name was prominent when it came time to dole out praise for winning the ‘85 World Series.

Which brings us back to Salvy and the Martin Maldanodo signing. Can we all grudgingly admit that Salvy, great though he may be, is not a good handler of a pitching staff. It has been pointed out elsewhere that he is very poor at framing pitches. This costs his pitcher strikes, which costs his pitcher outs, which leads to more pitches than necessary, which leads to more pitches over the middle of the plate which leads to losing seasons. But don’t believe the apostate, let’s look at a little non-sciencey, anecdotal evidence.

Ian Kennedy: everybody’s whipping boy and, yes the Royals took a bit of a flier on him, but Kennedy had been a pretty decent pitcher before he landed in KC. Since then every part of his game is worse than his career stats.

Johnny Cueto: remember him? Got him from the Reds for the sprint to the 2015 post season. Cueto complained about Salvy’s receiving skills, perhaps from the frustration at being roughed up in the American League, or maybe he had a legitimate beef. Cueto’s ERA was significantly higher with the Royals than before or after (when he’s been able to stay healthy). And no, 2014 and 2015 is not an adequate refutation of Salvy’s limitations as a catcher.

Jason Hammel, Trevor Cahill, Brandon Maurer: these guys were terrible after they came to KC not before. Hell, Maurer managed to save 20 games for the Padres before imploding with the Royals. Hammel was a winning pitcher elsewhere.

Picking up Maldanodo was the right move because the Royals may not be destined to just be "also ran" in 2019. Let Cleveland sustain some crucial injuries, sub par performances or the Cuyahoga River catches fire again, and the AL Central will be ripe for the taking.

Maldonado comes to a team with young arms to nurture and some veteran pitchers facing a crossroads in their careers. If he can help bring out the promise shown by the young guys, turn Danny Duffy into a steady, dependable lefty, think Charlie Liebrandt2, and, dare we think it, give Kennedy more room to work on the corners, Maldanodo may be just what the doctor ordered, (see what I did there? Salvy. Operation. Doctor….well I liked it).

"Write if we’re still speaking"

The late but forever great Dan Jenkins

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.