Salvador Perez can help the Kansas City Royals a lot this year, both with his play and with his veteran presence for a rebuilding team.
The Kansas City Royals didn’t figure to be contenders before the MLB season was shut down, and most people won’t be giving them much of a chance with a shortened 2020 MLB season that will soon be underway. And there may not be many players on the roster that will be part of the next good KC team. Yet that doesn’t mean that this isn’t an important season for Mike Matheny’s club.
The Royals have a lot of young pitching that they hope to graduate to the majors over the next couple of years; to that end, it will be important to have a reliable, experienced receiver behind the plate. Salvador Perez, who is amazingly only 30 years old, would seem to fit that description.
Perez was there back when the Royals made the World Series in 2014 and 2015, winning it in 2015. He experienced winning early in his career and has won a total of five Gold Glove Awards, posting a career defensive WAR of 13.0. At the plate, though he takes hardly any walks, he’s been a solid run producer, hitting 20 home runs four times and driving in at least 70 runs five times.
Unfortunately, Perez missed the entire 2019 season due to injury. Getting him back healthy and productive would go a long way towards the Royals improving on last year’s .364 winning percentage. His production at the plate would be a big help, but he will have an even more important job in this shortened season and beyond: to guide the young pitching through the rebuild.
As the Royals bring more youth to the majors, Perez and Alex Gordon, the last two big pieces left from the winning years, will have a great opportunity to be leaders to the young players and show them how to win. Perez is signed through next year, so if he comes back and has a solid start to the 2020 season, he could be an attractive trade piece for contending clubs.
It remains to be seen whether the Royals would be willing to part with Perez, as he can still be an important player for this rebuilding franchise for the reasons mentioned above. The two sides have shown a lot of loyalty to each other after Perez signed a five-year extension following the World Series Championship.
Until that happens, if it does, look for Salvador Perez to be a key player for the Royals in this shortened 2020 season. For the Royals, let’s hope that he bounces back from injury and has a nice 60-game season.