Longtime Royals catcher Salvador Perez looks to have been an under-the-radar trade candidate heading into the deadline, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweeted that the Marlins and White Sox each had interest, and the Padres also “checked on” the backstop, as per the Post’s Jon Heyman. The Marlins might have been relatively closest to making something happen, as The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reports that Perez was “open to” playing in Florida (where he lives), and Miami and K.C. revisited talks this afternoon but a deal didn’t emerge.
On paper, it isn’t surprising that a non-contender like the Royals looking into moving a high-salaried veteran player. However, the fact that Perez was discussed to even some extent counts as a bit of a surprise, given his longstanding status as the face of the Royals franchise. In mid-June, Kansas City general manager J.J. Picollo flatly denied the possibility of such a move, saying the Royals didn’t “have any intention of trading Salvy and it’s not something we are looking to do,” and that “he has told us over and over again he wants to be a Royal his whole career.”
Perez is a 10-and-5 player, meaning that he achieved full no-trade protection by achieving 10 years of MLB service time and five years with the same team. He could’ve therefore vetoed any proposal, but it creates an interesting question of what scenario arose first — Perez telling the Royals he was open to being dealt in the right scenario, or the Royals approaching Perez with any offers received.
Of course, the extent of the talks with any of these three clubs isn’t known, as even the negotiations with the Marlins might’ve been little more than due diligence. Miami and San Diego both known to be looking for catching upgrades, and given the thin market for quality backstops, it makes sense that each team would at least place a call to Kansas City, even if the chances of a Perez trade might have been remote.
The White Sox are a more surprising suitor, and it seems unlikely that Perez might have agreed to join another AL Central team. According to Sherman, Sox manager Pedro Grifol might’ve been a factor in trying to bring his old friend to town, as Grifol spent a decade on the K.C. coaching staff before being hired by Chicago. The White Sox saw Perez as a replacement for Yasmani Grandal, who is a free agent after the season and was surely a trade candidate in his own right as the Sox looked to rebuild, though Grandal was one of the few pending White Sox free agents who wasn’t moved at the deadline.
If Perez and the Royals are perhaps considering parting ways, it adds an interesting wrinkle to the offseason trade market. Given how badly the Royals have stumbled this season, Perez might feel that the team won’t be able to contend again before his contract is up, so he might be more open to joining a contender for the latter stages of his career. From the Royals’ perspective, losing the 33-year-old Perez would represent the end of an era in K.C. baseball, but it might be a decision the team is ready to make if it has to reboot what looks like a stalled rebuild plan.
Perez is still owed at least $44MM through the 2025 season ($42MM in salary and a $2MM buyout of a $13.5MM club option for 2026), so he would be a pricey addition for any team. There is also the fact that Perez is having a down year, hitting .246/.288/.427 with 17 homers (and 89 wRC+) over 396 plate appearances and posting subpar defensive numbers according to both Statcast and Fangraphs’ metrics. It could be that Perez might be recharged with a change of scenery, or he might simply be starting to wear down after 12 MLB seasons.