ST. PETERSBURG, FL: Catcher Salvador Perez #13 of the Kansas City Royals looks for a popup against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Monday afternoon, the Kansas City Royals announced an agreement with catcher Salvador Perez on a five-year contract that includes team options for three additional years that could keep Perez under team control through the 2019 season. Financial terms weren't initially disclosed, but we should have those numbers shortly.
Trivia Question: In the last 30 seasons, how many 21-year-old catchers got at least 100 plate appearances in a season?
Trivial Answer: 7
... and Salvador Perez was one of them. You've heard of all the others, or nearly all of them: Joe Mauer, Ivan Rodriguez, Brian McCann, Dioner Navarro, Yadier Molina, . With the exception of Mercado and Rodriguez, all these guys debuted in the last eight seasons. Which probably means something, though I'm not sure what.
Mauer and Perez were the only two who hit better than league-average. And in Perez's case, this was something of a shocker, considering his .283/.329/.427 line in a half-season with double-A Northwest Arkansas.
Perez can't be expected to maintain his .331 batting average in 39 games with the major-league Royals last season, and he's probably never going to draw many walks. If there's a real concern, though, it might be Perez's mobility. Now listed at 230 pounds, Perez is already slow. And as Baseball America wrote a year ago, "If he continues to gain weight, he'll enter the Molina Zone and his mobility as a catcher could be affected."
Still, locking up Perez seems like a fine idea in principle. We'll have a better notion of just how fine when we see the dollars attached to this long-term deal.
Update: According to Bob Dutton, if Perez hits all the contractual incentives he'll early $26.75 million over the next eight seasons. Which is a real bargain if he's just decent.