Baseball cards, bubble gum, and filling the void

Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals
Detroit Tigers v Kansas City Royals / Jay Biggerstaff/GettyImages
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I'm a big fan of baseball history. It all started when I opened my first pack of Topps baseball cards, looking for Mariners to add to my collection while suffering through that stale piece of gum. Oh, the nostalgia. That may be why I follow the old guys in the game; Miggy Cabrera, Clayton Kershaw, and Salvador Perez are just a few.

According to longtime MLB reporter Ken Rosenthal, Perez is apparently on the trade block as the Kansas City Royals look to shed salary this summer.

The traditional statistics are upgrades over any of the players the Mariners penciled into the designated hitter spot, but Perez adds more value. The 33-year-old is also having a terrific year behind the plate, elevating his pitch framing and converting 55.6% of non-swing pitches at the top of the strike zone into called strikes. He is also the only MLB catcher to make more than 30 starts without committing an error. 

Perez has also played first base over the past few years as the Royals looked to keep the wear and tear down. That positional flexibility and veteran leadership from a World Series winner would help this club tremendously. Think Carlos Santana acquisition, but a step above, because Perez has been to the mountain top and came out victorious. The Mariners have a hole in their clubhouse. They desperately need a veteran voice who has been there before.

This uneven season has seen many players deviate from the organizational philosophy of dominating the zone. The telling statistic are the strikeouts. Four Mariners are in the Top 10 in this category (Hernandez, Rodriguez, Suarez, and Kelenic). The team gives away too many at bats and the recipe for offensive success includes going back to their roots. Perez can be that calming voice in the clubhouse.

Now, the tough conversation. The eleven-year veteran is signed through 2025 with a club option for 2026. A controllable player with value sounds like a Dipoto-type acquisition until you look at the cost. Perez is owed $42M through 2025. However, a team that went bargain shopping in the offseason doesn't jump into the uncomfortable $20M AAV waters. But they might because the Royals hope to pair Perez with one of the most dominant relievers in the league.