It appears the Royals will have to trudge through 2019 without the face of their franchise, catcher Salvador Perez, who may need Tommy John surgery. While they’ve been connected to free-agent catcher Martin Maldonado in the wake of the Perez news, general manager Dayton Moore said Saturday he’d rather go forward with in-house options Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria and pick up “depth” at the position than add another potential starter, Lynn Worthy of the Kansas City Star reports. It’s unclear whether that mindset would close the door on a Maldonado signing, however. Even though the 32-year-old Maldonado has accrued plenty of playing time in recent seasons, the defensively adept veteran may not be in position to hold out for a starting job at this juncture.
More from the game’s Central divisions…
- Tigers owner Christopher Ilitch suggested Saturday the team will attempt to extend general manager Al Avila before his contract runs out after the 2020 season, though discussions haven’t yet gotten underway, Jason Beck of MLB.com relays. Avila, the Tigers’ GM since 2015, is “doing an excellent job” overseeing the rebuilding franchise, said Ilitch, who also spoke highly of manager Ron Gardenhire as he enters his second season with the club. Beyond that, Ilitch hinted the club’s poised to become more active in free agency as its rebuild progresses, per Beck, which jibes with previous statements from Avila.
- Pirates outfielder Lonnie Chisenhall left the team’s game Saturday with “general lower extremity tightness,” according to Kevin Gorman of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. The severity is unknown, but it’s not particularly reassuring news after Chisenhall missed all but 29 games last year with the Indians while dealing with calf problems. The Pirates signed the 30-year-old Chisenhall to a $2.75MM guarantee in free agency, in part because starting outfielder Gregory Polanco will miss at least the beginning of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery last September.
- Cardinals reliever Brett Cecil will stay out of game action until late next week as he battles mechanical issues, Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com writes. Cecil and the Cardinals insist he’s physically fine, but the southpaw noticed in his Wednesday appearance that he was leaving the mound too early and didn’t have his left arm in the correct position when he came set, Langosch writes He’ll need to fix those issues to have any chance at rebounding from a dreadful 2018 in which he logged a 6.89 ERA with 5.23 K/9 and 6.89 BB/9 in 32 2/3 innings. Cecil’s now in the third season of a four-year, $30.5MM contract that hasn’t worked out as hoped for the Cardinals thus far.