Recently, I wrote about how the Kansas City Royals could salvage a bit of this lost season by controlling the trade deadline. In that piece, I named 13 players that could likely be moved before August 2nd.
Some of those players, like Andrew Benintendi, are more likely than others to be moved.
Some of those players, like Ryan O’Hearn, are more likely than others to stick around past the trade deadline due to non-interest.
Some of those players, like Nicky Lopez, are more likely than others to sick around because the Royals have plenty of club control over them for years to come.
One player I didn’t mention was catcher Salvador Perez. Numerous people questioned not including him in the piece.
Well, I have my reasons, which I clearly didn’t include in that piece, but which I’ll talk about now.
The first reason is the coldest reason: his contract and declining play make it unlikely that the Royals would be able to get enough back to justify trading him. Perhaps, to some fans, just trading him to get his contract off the books would be enough, but a) that’s not how this front office operates and b) even if a new front office comes in, they’re not going to immediately dump a franchise pillar (more on that in a bit).
In March of 2021, Perez inked a four-year extension worth $82 million that could that the Royals could extend another year for an additional $11.5 million. Perez rocked 2021, the last year in his old deal. He made $13 million last year.
This year, he makes $18 million, followed by making $20 million in each of 2023 and 2024 followed by $22 million in 2025 when he’ll be 35. (The other $2 million in guaranteed money comes from a buyout in 2026, when the team has a club option for $13.5 million.)
That’s a big bag to give any player, but especially a catcher, even more so considering the contract didn’t really even kick in until he turned 32.
He started slow this year, but he’s hitting much better through the first nine days of June. Maybe this contract will look better in a couple of months, but overall, he’s still only slashing .203/.241/.401 right now.
Who’s going to want to pay $70+ million for that? And who’d be willing to give up a good prospect?
Right: no one.
The rest of the reasons sort of blend together, but as I see it, the Royals rightfully value Perez more than any other team a) for his leadership, b) for fan interest, and c) because he could become one of those rare lifetime Royals.
Leadership is hard to quantify, but just imagine how devastated the rest of the roster would be to come into Kauffman only to find out that the happiest guy they know, the one with a smile on his face most of the time, The One Who Splashes, has been shipped out of town for...a mid-level prospect. Think the morale around the team is bad now?
Just you wait, Henry Higgins, just you wait: it would sink to depths unknown.
Also, every team that competes needs a leader. Without Salvy, who’s the leader? A void would emerge, one that would be hard to fill.
Salvy, more than Zack Greinke, more than anyone in the entire organization, connects the Winning Era to The New Era. He’s a grizzled leader who’s been through the ups and downs and can help the current group of young guys turn into winners. If he can’t do that, the no one can.
Most of the Royals fans would be upset, too. Heck, they may downright revolt! I bet attendance would take an incredible nosedive.
It would be biblical—Old Testament! Wrath of God! Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes! The dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice!
Dogs and cats, living together!
Finally, he’s got a great chance at being a Royals lifer. When you think of “Kansas City Royals,” what names pop to mind?
Right now, I think of four guys: George Brett, Frank White, Alex Gordon—and Salvador Perez.
That is damn fine, exclusive company. That means something to Perez. This is the only organization he’s ever known, and sure, he may not ever have landed a $100 million contract, but over the years, he’s been well-compensated to do what he loves to do.
Surely, he wants to stick around and be on the Mount Rushmore of Royals greats. If he retires a Royal, he’ll most certainly be on it, probably the second-best Royal ever behind only Brett.
He also surely wants to win, so the Royals should probably start doing that, too.
Especially in these lean times, when the season hasn’t gone according to plan, the Royals won’t—and shouldn’t—trade Salvador Perez. He means too much to the team and to City.
He’s a lifer.
Should the Royals trade Salvador Perez?
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