Originally posted on The Outside Corner  |  Last updated 2/27/12

When news broke at around 5:45 that the Royals would be making a big announcement in about 40 minutes tonight, we all figured that it would be a contract extension, and that the player to be extended was likely Eric Hosmer or Alex Gordon. Well, we were partly right. The Royals did extend one of their players, but it was actually catcher Salvador Perez, who was given a five year deal with three club options that will could him under control under the 2019 season. The monetary parts of the deal haven't been announced yet.

Upon reading this, you probably have one question in your mind: who in the hell is Salvador Perez?

Here are the facts. Perez is a 21 year old catcher (turns 22 in May) who made his major league debut for the Royals last season, and in 39 games, he had a .331/.361/.473 line. This is obviously a real tiny sample that might not be worth a minimum of five years of guaranteed money, and when you look at the 4.4% walk rate, .362 BABIP, the .733 OPS in 99 games in A+ in 2010, and the .756 OPS in 79 AA games last year, you're probably not too enthused.

Perez ranked 17th on Baseball America's top 30 prospects list going into the 2011 season, and wasn't eligible for this year's prospect list due to too many plate appearances in the majors last year. It's a big gamble for the Royals, especially for a largely unheralded and largely inexperienced player like Perez, but this could work out very well for the Royals if Perez pans out in the way that the Royals think he will. Or, it could be an absolute disaster for a franchise whose best catcher since Mike McFarlane left town has been John Buck.

UPDATE: $7 million over the first five years. Really, that's it? Even if he flames out, this isn't a huge financial investment at all. I really can't blame the Royals for getting this done now if that's all it took. And who knows, he could become a star and make this deal look like highway robbery.

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