Salvador Perez out 3-4 months after knee surgery; Royals interested in Ivan Rodriguez?

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So much for Salvador Perez only missing a few weeks.

Perez underwent his scheduled knee surgery today and the Royals announced afterward that he’s expected to be out for 12-14 weeks, which would mean a mid-June return at the earliest.

In other words, there’s a strong chance the 21-year-old catcher will miss the entire first half of the season, which is an awfully tough break so soon after signing a long-term contract extension that could potentially keep him in Kansas City through 2019.

For now Brayan Pena will move atop the catching depth chart, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star speculated this morning that the Royals could be interested in 40-year-old Ivan Rodriguez as a veteran replacement. And that was before the news of Perez’s longer-than-expected recovery timetable.

Pena has hit just .251 with a .293 on-base percentage and .359 slugging percentage in 267 career games through age 29, but that .652 OPS is actually higher than Rodriguez’s mark in both 2011 (.604) and 2010 (.640). Rodriguez can still shut down a running game with his elite arm strength, whereas Pena has thrown out just 27 percent of steal attempts.

Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg’s status for 2023 ‘a mystery’

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — Stephen Strasburg‘s status for 2023 is up in the air after a series of injuries that limited him to one start this season, Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said.

“It’s still a little bit of a mystery,” Rizzo said about the 2019 World Series MVP before the Nationals were scheduled to play a doubleheader at the New York Mets. “I know that he’s working hard strengthening his core and the other parts of his body. We’re just going to have to see. With the type of surgery and rehab that he’s had, it’s unfamiliar to us. It’s unfamiliar to a lot of people. We’re going to have to take it day by day.”

The 34-year-old right-hander has thrown a total of 31 1/3 innings across just eight starts over the past three seasons combined. He had carpal tunnel surgery in 2020, then needed an operation to correct thoracic outlet syndrome in 2021.

After his only start of 2022, he went back on the injured list with a stress reaction of the ribs.

“We’ll have to see where the rehab process takes us later on in the winter,” Rizzo said. “We’re going to monitor him. He’s local, so we’ll see him all the time and we’ll see where he’s at going into spring training mode.”

Strasburg is a three-time All-Star who signed a $245 million contract after helping Washington win a championship in 2019.

He is 113-62 with a 3.24 ERA for his career.

Meeting with reporters toward the end of a rough season – Washington entered with a majors-worst and Nationals-worst record of 55-104 and shipped away the team’s best player, outfielder Juan Soto, at the trade deadline – Rizzo talked about doing “an autopsy of the organization.”

“I look at the season as a disappointment. I’ve always said that you are what your record says you are, and our record says we’re the worst team in the league right now. It’s hard to argue with that,” Rizzo said. “The flip side of that is we’re in a process.”

Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez were given contract extensions during the season. Martinez said his entire coaching staff will return next year.