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Does Salvador Perez make sense for the White Sox?

by Nico Andrade

After one MLB insider suggested the White Sox stay within the division to fill their outfield vacancy, another has brought up a similar idea. Instead of the outfield, however, the move would be to bolster their catching situation.

Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote a column last week where he said it wouldn’t be the craziest thing for the White Sox to kick the tires on a potential deal involving Royals catcher Salvador Perez. Rosenthal’s comments were more speculation than anything, as he noted that Kansas City hasn’t shown indications of wanting to part ways with their veteran backstop nor have engaged in any trade talks to this point.

“The Royals, however, are not inclined to move Perez, and certainly not to a team in their division. Perez is the last player remaining from their 2015 World Series champions. Club officials view him as an important part of the Royals’ offense and an asset in the development of their young pitchers.”

via Ken Rosenthal – The Athletic

This idea of a relationship between Perez and the South Siders surfaced at an interesting time, as several fans pointed out that the Kansas City catcher had unfollowed the Royals’ official account on Instagram and started following the White Sox. Shortly after Rosenthal’s article was published, Perez unfollowed the White Sox and still follows neither team at the time of this publication.

It’s been no secret that Perez is close with new White Sox manager Pedro Grifol, who once served as his catching instructor before becoming the team’s bench coach. In fact, Perez was one of the first people to speak highly of Grifol following his hire in an interview with MLB.com’s Scott Merkin.

“He always said, ‘Good players make good coaches,’ he always told me that, but I think it’s the opposite,” Perez said. “I think good coaches make good players. And he’s the best.

“That’s why today I can say that it’s kind of like, I’m here because the way Pedro helped me and the way he talked to me and the relationship I have with him. He always taught me the right way. Today I can say he helped me a lot.”

“I’ve got five Gold Gloves, and I think four of them are because of Pedro. The way he kind of worked with me, the way he always was talking to me, like keeping your head in the game, situations, staying on top of it, even in the offseason. He meant a lot to me … I appreciate him for a lot of things.”

Salvador Perez on Pedro Grifol (via Scott Merkin of MLB.com)

Perez will be entering his age 33 season and is set to make at least $20 million over the next three years. He also has a club option for $13 million in 2026, which means he would be under contract until at least the age of 35, possibly 36. If the White Sox were to make such a move, it would be with the future in mind, considering Yasmani Grandal is in the last year of his deal and there isn’t an immediate backup plan in the works.

Looking at this past season, Perez slashed .254/.292/.465 (113-for-445) with 23 home runs, 76 RBI, 108 wRC+, and 0.5 fWAR. He was just one year removed from an impressive 2021 campaign that featured 48 homers and 121 RBI. In a little bit of a different role in 2022, Perez found himself platooning with rookie MJ Melendez, resulting in just 74 starts behind the dish. This was just 10 more than Grandal, who continued to battle injuries and vowed to come back stronger next season.

Now, an obvious concern to factor into a move for Perez is his age as he’s not getting any younger, himself. With his best years likely behind him, it’s hard to imagine the White Sox would be willing to part ways with any valuable trade assets given their more pressing needs. On top of this, Perez’s addition would just create bigger issues for the roster, as it would almost certainly signal the end of the Grandal era and leave them with another mess to clean up. Perhaps the Sox would try to lump Grandal into the package for Perez to even things out, though Kansas City likely wouldn’t bite.

All in all, there’s no doubt that Perez would be a great leader and welcomed presence in the clubhouse. The team needs someone to step up after the departure of Jose Abreu. But given Perez’s price tag and the current roster construction, any sort of move seems highly unlikely – especially within the AL Central for a secondary need.

Though an intriguing thought from Rosenthal, this seems like a pass for both sides involved.

For more White Sox coverage, be sure to follow us on social media @SoxOn35th.

Featured Photo: © Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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