When the Royals lost catcher Salvador Perez to Tommy John surgery recently, it put the team in a real bind. While there is no good time to lose a quality catcher like Perez, losing one after the bulk of the free agent catchers have already been signed is doubly bad even though the Royals were not expected to make a push for contention in 2019. Someone still has to play the position and when a team is going to presumably be giving some young players (in particular pitchers) a chance to see if they are going to be a part of the future, a team wants to have some ability and expertise behind the plate.
Fortunately for the Royals, not ALL of the free agent catchers had signed and they were able to snag a reasonable replacement on a one year deal.
The Royals have their replacement for Salvador Perez. Catcher Martin Maldonado is in agreement on a one-year, $2.5M deal, sources tell ESPN. The deal, which is pending physical, was first reported by @Ken_Rosenthal.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 9, 2019
Martin Maldonado isn’t a catcher you necessarily want to build a competitive roster around, but he is a strong defensive catcher although his offensive profile is sketchy at best. Maldonado slashed .225/.276/.351 in 2018 in 119 games with two teams. In 2017, he was able to post 22 defensive runs saved which is a pretty insane number for a catcher although his defensive numbers did come back to earth in 2018.
Again, while we are talking about a 32 year old catcher with limited offensive upside, considering the position the Royals were in, they could do far worse than signing a capable receiver on a cheap one year deal.