Salvador Perez caught an MLB-high 143 games during the regular season and was behind the plate for all 15 of the Royals’ postseason games, finishing the year with the most starts by a catcher in the history of baseball.
Not surprisingly he struggled down the stretch and into the playoffs, hitting just .190 in his final 22 regular season games and .207 in the postseason.
And now Perez is starting even more games at catcher for the MLB team in the All-Star Series in Japan.
Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com is treating this as a good thing, writing stuff like “Perez earned his paycheck” and “loves the game.” And that’s all true, but he’s also a 24-year-old catcher who has now caught more than 160 games and spent more than 1,400 innings behind the plate in one year. Catchers tend not to age particularly well anyway, but if Perez looks worn down in 2015 (and perhaps beyond) it won’t exactly be a mystery why.
Last Thursday, we learned that the MLBPA was challenging the Nippon Professional Baseball posting system, delaying Japanese superstar Shohei Ohtani’s move to Major League Baseball. The latest collective bargaining agreement removed a lot of the incentive for players to come to the U.S. by capping pay. Ohtani, for example, can only receive a signing bonus between $300,000 and $3.53 million while his team — the Nippon Ham Fighters — would receive $20 million for posting him.
Jon Morosi reports that the deadline for this issue to be resolved is 8 PM ET on Monday evening. He notes that key NPB officials have worked through the night in Japan to try to reach a resolution. It is possible that even if no agreement is reached, the deadline could be pushed further back.
Ohtani, 23, has become a heralded hitter and pitcher in Japan. At the plate over his five-year career, he has compiled a .286/.358/.500 triple-slash line with 48 home runs and 166 RBI in 1,170 plate appearances. On the mound, he has a 2.52 ERA with a 624/200 K/BB ratio across 543 innings.