The odds are decent that you don't know who Salvador Perez is.
He's a catcher for the Royals. Is he really a .331-hitting catcher? Nope. How good is he? No idea. He's just a puppy. If I wanted to put him into perspective in your Giants-centric universe, I could point out that he's pretty similar to Hector Sanchez.
But that's not the point. Not quite. Salvador Perez comes up here because I'm absolutely fascinated with the contract he just received. The Royals just guaranteed his contract for five years, eliminating the typical minimum-plus contract for the first three years and buying out at least two of his arbitration years. Total cost for those five years: $7 million. After that, there are three team options for years six through eight: the first is $3.75 million, the second is $5 million, and the last is $6 million.
I've never been this fascinated with a contract before. It's as if Perez is going to walk into the front office tomorrow and declare that he has leprosy. Thanks for all the guaranteed money, suckers. If that happens, though, the downside is that the Royals would be out $7 million. The upside is that they could save scores of millions over the eight years if Perez is something of a star.
What interests me the most, though, is that Perez isn't supposed to be a star. He's highly thought of, but he was never a top-100 prospect. This isn't like an Evan Longoria or Matt Moore deal. This is, again, like the Giants signing Hector Sanchez to a similar deal. The Giants had to pay a decent-to-good player like Cody Ross $6.3 million in his final year of arbitration just for being decent-to-good. They're doing the same with Melky Cabrera.
What the Royals did is hedge their bets that Perez was going to be decent-to-good. If he's decent, the Royals will probably save a little money.
I have no idea if this is a good idea. Seems like it. But it's probably a little above my head, all this contract talk. It still fascinates me. And I wonder if it's going to kick off a trend, or if we're going to realize quickly that one side really hosed the other, and that will be the end of that little fad.
Would you guarantee Hector Sanchez $6 million or $7 million with a bunch of team options after the first five years? I think I would. I have no idea if Sanchez will ever be a major-league starter (and the Giants sort of have a catcher already) ... but I'm a sucker for speculative investments. Explains all the HotBot stock I'm sitting on until the market turns around.
Thank you for indulging my whimsy. You may now return to not thinking about Salvador Perez.