In 2012, Salvador Perez signed a five-year, $7 million deal that included three club options which could, at the discretion of the Royals, keep their catcher locked up through 2019 with a maximum value of $26.5 million. There are several players who make more than that in a single season now, of course, so paying that to the reigning World Series MVP who has averaged 143 games played over the past three seasons and who is the unquestioned team leader of the world champions is quite the bargain.
Now, however, Jon Heyman reports that the Royals and Perez “are quietly trying to rework/extend” his deal. The hope is to get something done before the team’s upcoming FanFest.
Already on the Internet I have seen some fans questioning why the Royals should do this with “a deal is a deal” reasoning. And yes, there is no denying that Perez made a deal that, back in 2012, may have seemed appealing. Perez had almost zero service time when he was put under that deal, so he had no leverage at all. If he had suffered a catostrophic injury in the early going, he could’ve finished his career making less than a million bucks. The Royals could’ve paid him $500K a year for three years if the so chose. I wouldn’t have advised Perez to sign that deal if I were his agent at the time and no one forced him to sign it, but it’s understandable.
It’s also understandable, however, for the Royals to acknowledge the reality that a team leader and fan favorite is making orders of magnitude less money than guys who have been nowhere near as important to the team. Are the Royals obligated to do so? No. But it’s admirable of them to appreciate that they got a lot from the guy for almost nothing over the past several years and to re-do his deal in a way that reflects that value and current realities.
Giants GM Bobby Evans acknowledged to the San Francisco Chronicle that he has maintained contact with free agent Tim Lincecum.
Everyone has focused so much on the big-time free agents that we’ve sort of forgotten about the former back-to-back Cy Young Award winner. But he too is a free agent and, the Giants’ interest notwithstanding, is planning to hold a showcase for interested teams next month in Arizona.
Those Cy Youngs are pretty far back in the rear-view mirror, unfortunately. He has a 39-42 record with a 4.68 ERA, declining strikeout rates and climbing walk rates over the last four seasons. He’s also coming off of hip surgery. His name and reputation may get him a major league deal, but on the merits he seems like a minor league deal/major league camp invite sort of talent these days. It’d hard to picture him in a uniform other than a Giants uniform, to be honest.
A’s DH Billy Butler appeared at whatever Caravan/FanFest/Magical Mystery Tour the A’s, like every other team, have in January. There were a number of issues on the table, but the two that stuck out were his conditioning and the A’s team chemistry, as reported by John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle.
On the conditioning, Butler was pretty frank and honest about life, the universe and his physique. Rather than peddle Best Shape of His Life stuff like a lot of bigger guys coming off of a bad season might, he notes that (a) he is who he is and he’s never exactly been mistaken with the Bryce Harpers and Andrew McCutchens of the world; and (b) when you’re a big dude, no one ever asks you about your conditioning when you’re coming off of a big season. Both of those things are true.
More interesting are his comments about the Athletics’ chemistry:
Beyond all the losing, the A’s had a clubhouse-chemistry problem, and Butler acknowledged it Sunday, saying, “To say we had a bad clubhouse was accurate.
“You see there’s definitely people who are not here anymore that were part of the issue.”
For the record, the Athletics traded away Jesse Chavez, Brett Lawrie, Drew Pomeranz and Arnold Leon this offseason. Ike Davis is a free agent they’re likely not bringing back. Given that relief pitchers and swingmen/fifth starters tend not to rate very high on the clubhouse totem pole, my guess would be that Butler is talking about Lawrie here, who was criticized by some folks in Toronto. It’s worth noting, however, that Butler immediately went on to say that chemistry is always going to suffer when you’re losing 94 games because losing makes guys unhappy.
Which makes me think that even if Lawrie is a less-than-fabulous clubhouse guy, if the A’s lose 94 games again, there will be someone else who is none too happy in that clubhouse come September.