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In a rare occurrence in the worlds of sports and business, today the Kansas City Royals did right by Salvador Perez.
On the surface, this appears to be a bit of a bad deal for the Royals, though it will hardly be catastrophic.
I imagine the going rate for a decent catcher will probably be more than the $13 million a year Sal will be getting in the last two years of this contract. The question is: will he be a decent catcher still?
There is certainly some good PR in the move, as everybody knew that Perez was getting hosed with each passing year he put up positive WAR and pumped out credibly entertaining Instagram videos.
Lost in that analysis is that when he hurt his knee in year one of the deal, it looked like he may have potentially grabbed millions more than he would have as a roving catching instructor had things not worked out.
I think this deal represents something more than simple dollars and common sense, though. I think this represents Kansas City’s best strategy for staying competitive in the coming years.
Namely: you can’t sign somebody who just doesn’t want to be there.
Salvador Perez committed to Kansas City, and the team has now committed to him. This comes on the heals of Alex Gordon taking a below market deal to stay with the only organization he’s ever known. (You can say the market got wise and he took the best offer, but I just don’t see it.)
And today, Chris Young had this to say:
Chris Young describes what the Royals have as a group as unquantifiable and says “I’ve played my whole career to be on a team like this.”
— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) March 1, 2016
There will never be a scenario in which the Royals resign Ben Zobrist and Johnny Cueto, add Zach Grienke to the mix, and lay waste to the American League without breaking a sweat.
Guys like Chris Young are exactly how Kansas City will stay competitive. Kris Medlen and Mike Minor. These are the players who bring above average contributions on top of the star performances of guys like Lorenzo Cain and Eric Hosmer.
Superstars will leave and get paid. Stars might stick around for a few dollars less if they enjoy coming to the park every day.
Of course, the farm system has to replenish the roster with true value, but almost as important is the rest of the team not sucking. And, that’s harder than it sounds.
Kansas City is becoming a destination for guys who don’t suck. They just sent a signal to the rest of baseball that they may have the strongest relationship with their players of any organization.