Royals star catcher Salvador Perez will not be behind home plate this year, as he is planning to undergo Tommy John surgery to repair his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, the club has announced.
This news comes four days after Kansas City announced that Perez had suffered his elbow injury during a workout last Wednesday and an MRI revealed damage in the elbow. This led to Perez getting a second opinion by Dr. Neal ElAttrache in Los Angeles.
With the injury being confirmed, Perez is expected to miss the entire season and will be back in 2020. This is a tough blow to a young Royals team because they will miss having their biggest veteran presence in their lineup and on the field.
Perez proved last year that he was the best catcher in the AL. The 28-year-old right-handed hitter won his fifth AL Gold Glove award after he did not commit an error behind home plate, making him only the seventh catcher since 1913 to not commit one while making at least 96 starts. He also came away with his second AL Silver Slugger award after he led all AL catchers in home runs (27), RBI (70), hits (120), total bases (224), extra-base hits (50), runs (52) and at-bats (510). A six-time All-Star and MVP during the Royals’ run to winning a World Series in 2015, Perez was the only AL catcher to have over 500 at-bats in 2018.
It would be interesting to see if the Royals try to go out and sign a veteran catcher on the free agent market, even though they have Perez locked up for through 2021. The Royals currently have Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria as their top two catchers.
The biggest name on the market is Martin Maldonado, who was a Gold Glove finalist after he led the majors in caught stealing by throwing out 49 percent of runners and anchored the Astros’ pitching staff for the last half of the season after coming over from the Angels.