Update: The Kansas City Star’s Bob Dutton reports that Perez is guaranteed $7 million through 2016. The deal could be worth as much as $26.75 million over eight years.
The Royals locked up the youngest of their young major leaguers on Monday, signing 21-year-old catcher Salvador Perez to a five-year contract with club options through 2019.
Perez debuted in the majors last August and hit .331/.361/.473 with three homers and 21 RBI in 148 at-bats. The new arrival wouldn’t have been eligible for arbitration until after 2014 or free agency until after 2017.
Given the way young catchers tend to stall offensively, it’s a bit risky for the Royals to go long-term here. Still, the deal is almost sure to be cheap enough to make the upside worth it. Besides, they’re finally out from under that Angel Berroa contract now (right?). They can afford to splurge.
Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.
Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.
Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.