Sun, Mar 21, 2021
By Jim Vassallo (Veri.bet Writer)
The Kansas City Royals signed catcher Salvador Perez to a four-year, $82 million extension on Sunday, the largest deal in franchise history. The contract’s value surpassed the $72 million deal the Royals gave Alex Gorden in 2016.
Perez was recently named the Comeback Player of the Year after the 2020 season. The new contract goes into effect with the 2022 season.
"It's hard to believe where I'm coming from, where I grew up, to see the situation I have right now, it makes me feel super happy," Pérez said. "My mother is going to be happy. I know my grandma is going to be happy. I know they're excited for me to be here for four more years, maybe five."
"Nobody loves to play baseball more than Salvador Pérez. There are players that like it just as much but nobody loves it more," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "Nobody can imagine him not being here."
Perez, 31 in May, is one of the most popular players in the history of the Royals franchise. He won the World Series MVP when the Royals won the title in 2015 against the New York Mets. It was the Royals’ first championship in 30 years.
Perez hit .333 with 11 home runs and 32 RBIs in 2020 to win a Silver Slugger Award, the third of his career. Perez has also won five Gold Gloves as the long-time catcher for the Royals.
"I mean, the catching position is without a doubt the most demanding position in our game," Moore said. "It's hard, I think almost impossible, to win championships unless you have somebody behind the plate, somebody at the catcher position, that's a leader -- that brings out the confidence in your pitching staff. And Salvy does all that."
For six straight years, Perez appeared in at least 129 games. He missed all of the 2019 season due to Tommy John surgery.
Perez remains in the fold and the leader of a revamped roster heading into the 2021 season. The Royals added righty Mike Minor and relievers Greg Holland and Wade Davis. They signed first basemen Carlos Santana to a two-year contract and acquired outfielder Andrew Benintendi from the Boston Red Sox via trade. The team then extended third basemen Hunter Dozier for another four years.
"You know, they believe in me and what I do on the field," Pérez said, "and all the fans in Kansas City, you know?"
Perez made it known that he did not want to hit the open market after the 2021 season.
"I want to stay here," Perez said. "I want to finish my career here."
In 979 career games, Perez has a .269 batting average, 152 home runs, 535 RBIs, 992 hits, a .992 fielding percentage, and has thrown out 35% of runners attempting to steal against him.
It certainly looks like Kansas City is all-in for the 2021 season and should give the Cleveland Indians a run for their money in the AL Central.