Next spring, the Kansas City Royals' Salvador Perez, one of the best catchers in the majors, will enter the last year of the guaranteed portion of a contract he signed in the winter of 2012. But at the back end, his deal contains three team options that will pay him:
$3.75 million in 2017
$5 million in 2018
$6 million in 2019
When Perez agreed to the deal, he guaranteed himself (and his family) a whole lot of money, but the succession of individual club options at a very reasonable price, relatively speaking, will be the cost for getting money up front. Either way, the Royals probably will have Perez for at least four more years. Meanwhile, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas will be under the Royals' control for at least two more seasons before they're scheduled to become eligible for free agency in the fall of 2017. Shortstop Alcides Escobar could be a free agent at that same time if the Royals exercise a team option after next season.
But Kansas City's front office is not planning as if the window of opportunity for this group of players will end after a couple of more years. Rather, Kansas City's plan is to try to keep Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain and Escobar, as well as their All-Star catcher, and to keep the success moving forward. Hosmer and Moustakas are represented by Scott Boras, who typically takes his clients into free agency, but just as the Royals plowed ahead and drafted those two players when other teams passed because they are Boras clients, the K.C. front office is undaunted, sources say. The Royals will try to make it work, and hold this group together.
With that, we finish up our positional rankings series by ranking Perez and others among baseball's top 10 catchers, based on input from evaluators and players:
The Giants would love to see him catch 100 to 110 games next season and play even more at first base, as they gradually transition him from behind the plate and keep his bat in the lineup. Posey hit .318 last year and drove in 95 runs despite the fact that San Francisco was beset by key injuries, including ones to Hunter Pence, Joe Panik and Angel Pagan. Posey also has become extremely adept at framing pitches, the details of which are posted on Statcorner.com; Posey ranked fourth in the majors at presentation, according to these metrics.