Extension talks between the Royals and Salvador Perez are ongoing, writes Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star. According to Mellinger, the team has an openness to working something out that hasn’t necessarily been present in the past. For his part, Perez expressed to Mellinger a desire to follow the path of George Brett and Alex Gordon, spending his entire career in the Royals organization. Perez feels a sense of loyalty to the club that gave him the chance to break into the big leagues, but his agent, Rafa Nieves of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, explained to Mellinger that it’ll be hard to offer much of a discount. “He left so much on the table in his present deal,” said Nieves of the five-year, $7MM deal (with three club options) brokered by Perez’s former agents. “He can’t afford to leave a lot more on the table in his next deal. So that’s where we’re at.” Mellinger notes that a rival executive expressed some disbelief that a small-market club could be willing to renegotiate a contract that favors the club so heavily.
Indeed, Jeff Todd and I have noted multiple times on the MLBTR Podcast that there’s significant risk for the Royals, who control Perez through 2019 at a total of $16.75MM via those club options. Perez is one of the largest catchers in baseball, and considering his enormous workload behind the plate (137 games caught, on average, per season from 2013-15), locking in Perez’s 2020 salary four years in advance is a tremendous risk, as there’s no way of definitively knowing how his body will hold up.
Here’s more from the AL Central…
- Royals second baseman Omar Infante could miss some time early this spring as he recovers from offseason surgery that removed bone spurs from his right elbow, writes the Star’s Blair Kerkhoff. Infante is taking batting practice but isn’t throwing to bases at this point, per manager Ned Yost. As Kerkhoff notes, Infante will be in a battle for the regular second base job this offseason — far from the outcome for which the club had hoped when signing him to a four-year, $30.25MM deal. Infante lost the second base job to Ben Zobrist this past July and will have to beat out Christian Colon for the job in 2016. In his first two years with Kansas City, Infante has batted .238/.268/.329.
- Young third baseman Giovanny Urshela could be ticketed for Triple-A in 2016 following the Indians’ agreement with Juan Uribe on a one-year deal, writes MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian. However, Urshela is currently in a holding pattern as Uribe works through visa issues that have delayed his arrival in the United States and, subsequently, his physical exam with Cleveland. Urshela batted just .225/.279/.330 in 288 plate appearances with Cleveland last season, but he drew strong marks for his glovework and has batted .275/.326/.473 in 514 PAs at the Triple-A level. Manager Terry Francona says he’s already spoken with Urshela about the way in which the Uribe deal could impact him, though Francona declined to get into specifics, as Uribe’s deal hasn’t been finalized.
- Anibal Sanchez underwent an MRI this week after experiencing discomfort in his triceps during a mound session on Monday, writes MLB.com’s Jason Beck. However, the Tigers right-hander was relieved to learn that the MRI revealed only inflammation and that the injury isn’t tied to the rotator cuff issue that cost him the final seven weeks of the 2015 season. Various injuries have landed Sanchez on the DL in each of the past three seasons, Beck notes.
- In searching for comparables for White Sox lefty Carlos Rodon, Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs found that Rodon’s slider bears a striking resemblance to that of Clayton Kershaw in terms of velocity, horizontal movement and vertical movement. That, of course, doesn’t mean that Rodon is on the cusp of becoming the best pitcher in baseball, but it offers a glimpse into the upside that he carries if he can improve his fastball and changeup. Alternatively, Sullivan found that the entirety of Rodon’s arsenal looks very similar to that of Francisco Liriano when looking the pair’s arsenals through the lens of PITCHf/x values. Sullivan concludes that Liriano is a more accessible upside for Rodon if he can make improvements to his changeup in the coming season, noting that Rodon will serve as somewhat of an X-factor in what should be a tightly contested AL Central division.