In light of yesterday’s Yan Gomes trade, those teams still in need of a backstop for 2019 will be surveying the market with renewed urgency. One guy not likely to be on the move is Salvador Perez. The story has not changed for Salvy and the Royals, whose price for Perez is “so exorbitant no team would meet it,” per the Athletic’s Rustin Dodd (subscription link). While teams around the league would certainly check in on Perez were he to become available, it is unlikely anyone values him as highly as the Royals. The 28-year-old catcher is owed $36MM through 2021 and hasn’t had an OBP over .300 since 2013. His power output has remained consistent, however, and his merits extend behind the field of play, as he is a key presence both for players and for fans, as a leader in the clubhouse and as the one of the last core position players from back-to-back American League pennants. More from the Royals and the rest of the American League…
- As for other Royals targets, Whit Merrifield is a slightly more achievable trade target, but given his four years of team control, the Royals are unlikely to part with their second baseman either. Lefty Danny Duffy can likely be had, but given his down year (4.88 ERA, 4.1 BB/9) and the over $45MM still on his deal, the Royals are better off keeping him and letting him restore some value in 2019. A quiet offseason looms for the Royals and GM Dayton Moore, who has said previously he expects Kansas City will be better-positioned to be aggressive in the market by 2021.
- The Astros tendered contracts to ten players before yesterday’s deadline, most of whom were fairly safe bets to return to Houston. Outfielder Jake Marisnick was one on-the-bubble candidate, but he returns for a third season of arbitration eligibility in Houston. Marisnick has struggled at the dish, carrying a career .226/.278/.374 line into 2019, but he is an elite defensive center fielder, a valuable asset for the Astros, who never seem wholly comfortable leaving George Springer full-time in center. Marisnick does have one option remaining*, so Houston can send him down to Triple A without exposing him to waivers. The Athletic’s Jake Kaplan (subscription link) also notes that fellow benchmates Tyler White and Tony Kemp are without options, limiting flexibility for GM Jeff Luhnow. None of the three would net much of a return on the trade market on their own, though all three are cheap and useful enough to be included as a complimentary piece to a larger deal. The Astros do have options in the minor leagues should they deal Marisnick, most notably Myles Straw, who could replace Marisnick as the speed and defense option in center off the bench.
- Both Kaplan and Fancred’s Jon Heyman suggest the Astros are looking for a primary catching option to top the depth chart ahead of Max Stassi. The Marlins J.T. Realmuto is the dream get, but Houston has thus-far refused to surrender star pitching prospect Forrest Whitley. Heyman notes that they may be willing to part with outfielder Kyle Tucker, a likely must-have for Miami in any package for Realmuto.
- Heyman also notes that in Cleveland, though most of the trade noise has focused on Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco, Trevor Bauer is actually the most likely of the three to be shipped out. This makes sense with the recent rumblings of extension talks with Carrasco, though there’s nothing close as of yet regarding Bauer. The Indians would love to keep him, but of the three, Bauer’s arbitration eligibility makes him more fiscally volatile than either of Carrasco or Kluber, who are under multi-year contracts. The perfect trade package for the Indians would probably include controllable pieces to augment what they already have in either the outfield or the bullpen, two areas in need of securing this offseason.
*Original post incorrectly listed Marisnick as having no options remaining (in referencing the Kaplan piece), but he does in fact have one option year left.