The Kansas City Royals have benefited substantially from a contract they signed with their all-star catcher four years ago. From 2012 until the end of the upcoming season, Salvador Perez will have made $7 million. That's an average annual value of $1.4 million for one of the best catchers in baseball.
Tacked onto the end of that deal are three club options. From 2017 until 2019, if the Royals pick up those options, Perez can make an additional $14.75 million. While that more than triples the average annual value, it's still an amazingly team-friendly deal.
According to Jon Heyman, the Royals front office and Perez are trying to rectify this.
Royals, Salvy Perez are still working on possible extension/reworking of his alltime bad deal (7M/5 yrs, 3 club options)— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) February 29, 2016
Over the life of the contract thus far, only Carlos Santana, Buster Posey, Joe Mauer, and Yadier Molina are catchers who have played more games. Santana, Posey, and Mauer have all benefited from playing at first base at least occasionally. And, that includes Perez's 2012 campaign when he only played in 76 games.
Normally a cost-conscious team, there's no doubt the Royals have benefited from the savings of the Perez deal. According to FanGraphs dollar per WAR estimations, Perez has been worth $78.7 million so far. And there's still this upcoming season remaining on the $7 million portion of the deal.
Both Perez and the Royals front office would have to agree on nixing the remaining portion of the deal in order for it to be re-worked. That would likely mean that the Royals would want a longer commitment from Perez in exchange.
While it may seem foolish for the Royals to re-negotiate such a team-friendly deal, it may be worth it if they want to keep Perez in Kansas City. Going through the next four seasons mostly on options isn't the most effective way to keep your talent happy.
That being said, Perez has caught 3556.1 innings over the past three seasons. And that doesn't include the postseason. To put it bluntly, no catcher has been asked to work harder. With the nature of the position being so taxing on a player's knees already, there's some worry that Perez may not age well. In fact, we may have seen some evidence of that as early as last year, when Perez put up his worst season at the plate and on the base paths.
Perez is going into his age-26 season and a commitment beyond age 32 might be getting into worrying territory. Consider the fact that Eric Hosmer is the franchise's first baseman, and you may not even have a place to convert Perez in the event that catching becomes too much for him. With that said, Hosmer becomes free agent-eligible following the 2017 season, so the Royals have plenty of ways -- and time -- to solve this issue.