The Royals have insurance on their five-year, $52MM contract with Salvador Perez, Jon Heyman of MLB Network reports (via Twitter). Specific terms of the policy aren’t clear, though the insurance policy is “believed” to kick in after 90 games. Kansas City will play its 90th game of the season on July 6 this year, after which point Perez will be owed approximately $4.57MM of his $10MM salary through season’s end. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll recoup that entire sum, as specific payments will be dependent on the terms of their policy. (The Mets’ insurance policy on David Wright, for instance, paid the team 75 percent of his salary based on days spent on the 60-day disabled list.) While the loss of Perez stings for the Royals on multiple levels, it seems they’ll at the very least be able to recover a few million dollars in salary, which could conceivably be used to pursue a replacement. Kansas City has been in talks with Martin Maldonado, who switched representation yesterday.
A couple more notes pertaining to the catching market…
- The Astros, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney (via Twitter), made Maldonado a two-year offer at the beginning of the offseason. Whether the annual salary that accompanied that offer was deemed insufficient or whether then-agent Scott Boras sought a lengthier pact, turning down the offer does not appear to have been a prudent decision. Of course, such proclamations are easy to make with the benefit of hindsight, and it was surely a far more difficult decision at the time. Many clubs — the Astros, White Sox, Rockies, Phillies, Mets, Cubs, Braves and Dodgers among them — looked like viable on-paper fits for Maldonado and other catchers at the outset of free agency, so exploring the market for his services was only natural. Houston ultimately moved on, adding Robinson Chirinos on a one-year deal, while Maldonado remains unsigned having recently hired a new agent.
- Out-of-options Rockies catcher Tom Murphy is making a strong bid for a roster spot with his spring performance, writes Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post. Murphy is 5-for-16 with a pair of homers and two walks (against six strikeouts), but beyond the raw, small sample of stats he’s posted to date, he’s impressed manager Bud Black with an improved all-around game. “I think ‘Murph’ does a nice job of game-calling,” said Black. “…the whole aspect of his game is much improved over what we saw two years ago and that’s a tribute to ‘Murph.’” Murphy, 28 next month, once sat on the back end of Baseball America’s Top 100 prospects list (2015-16 offseason) but has yet to establish himself. He’s now fighting for a roster spot against veteran Chris Iannetta and a strong defender but light hitter, Tony Wolters.
- In his latest Opening Day roster projection for the Red Sox, Ian Browne of MLB.com predicts that Christian Vazquez and Blake Swihart will make the roster. That’d leave Sandy Leon as the odd man out, forcing either a trade or a DFA of the defensive-minded veteran. Leon, Browne notes, is arguably the best defender of the bunch and could be a logical fit for the Royals. Swihart, meanwhile, has greater trade value given his former prospect status, upside with the bat and remaining team control. Leon avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year deal worth $2.475MM (a partially guaranteed sum that’d become fully guaranteed on Opening Day). He hit just .177/.232/.279 in 288 plate appearances last year but was vastly better in 2016-17. Swihart, meanwhile, is controlled through 2022 and is earning $910K as a first-time arbitration-eligible Super Two player. His .229/.285/.328 line in 207 PAs last year wasn’t much to look at, either, though his playing time was sparse and he’s long been touted for his offensive potential.