NY Mets: Salvador Perez would be the perfect catcher consolation prize
By Allen Settle
If the New York Mets are unable to reach a deal with James McCann or J.T. Realmuto, they should turn to the Kansas City Royals and a potential trade for Salvador Perez.
As the MLB offseason continues, the New York Mets are still without an everyday catcher. What seemed like a done deal with former White Sox backstop James McCann has yet to result in a concrete deal. To make matters more concerning reports that the Los Angeles Angels have emerged as a potential suitor has Mets fans worried about the state of their catcher position heading into a pivotal 2021 season.
Should the Mets lose out on their number one target, they still have an obvious pivot in the form of All-Star JT Realmuto. However, the potentially historic contract needed to secure the best catcher in the league is a point of concern amongst the fan base.
Should the franchise be unwilling or unable to land the superstar, the Mets could end up in catcher purgatory. Incumbent starter Wilson Ramos has been released. The remaining free agent class included older options such as Tyler Flowers, Jason Castro, or Yadier Molina. However, there are major question marks around each of these players.
There is one blast from the past that would be an ideal break-in-case-of-emergency option: Kansas City Royals veteran Salvador Perez. You may remember that the Mets were rumored to be interested in Perez last offseason.
During the last round of rumors, the longtime Royals’ star was coming off a Tommy John surgery that caused him to miss the entire 2019 season. That fact, combined with a fairly high perceived price tag, caused the Mets to search elsewhere for their need for a quality backstop. However, the Mets would be wise to reconsider the deal should the need arise.
After the benefit of seeing Perez return to the ranks of top catchers in the league during his return in 2020, a deal would be much less of a gamble for NYC. In terms of offense, the 2015 World Series MVP was as sharp as ever. He posted a career-high .333 average to go along with 32 RBI and 11 homers in 37 games across a shortened 60-game season. This excellent production earned the six-time All-Star the 2020 NL Comeback Player of the Year award.
Perez also has a longstanding track record of batting excellence. Despite playing a position that has been starved for offensive production across the league, the longtime Royal has recorded four straight seasons of 20+ home runs.
To add to the benefit, Perez is still only 30-years old. While it is fair to assume that his prime years are beginning to come to an end, he could still be a capable option for several seasons.
Perez also makes sense for a Mets’ roster that should rely heavily on their starting pitching staff. New York still boasts a potentially stellar staff consisting of perennial Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom, former All-Star Marcus Stroman, and a returning All-Star in Noah Syndergaard. They are also one of the top teams in the mix for reigning NL Cy Young Trevor Bauer.
A player with Perez’s veteran savvy and outstanding defensive reputation would be an excellent way to bolster an existing strength. This is particularly true considering he would be replacing Ramos and his league-worst defensive metrics.
The entire roster would feel the positive effects of the addition of a player like Perez. The team-wide defensive metrics that ranked well below average in 2020 would receive a five-time Gold Glove award winner. The team’s pitching staff would become much more well-rounded with the two-time AL leader in stopping attempted base stealers. Plus, the offense would gain another top tier weapon in the three-time Silver Slugger.
To be clear, James McCain still makes the most sense as the primary option due to his lower cost. Additionally, he, unlike Perez, can also be acquired without sacrificing on-field assets.
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However, should the Mets lose out on the former Chicago backstop or elect to avoid the Realmuto sweepstakes that could cost them north of $200 million, Perez would make an excellent consolation prize.