Salvador Perez will miss 4-6 weeks with a torn MCL, so the Kansas City Royals will have to turn to Drew Butera as their starting catcher.
For the last five seasons, catcher Salvador Perez has been one of the fixtures in the Kansas City Royals lineup. He’s started all five Opening Days, with at least 129 games played and a minimum of 499 plate appearances each season. But after a mishap with his luggage Tuesday night, Perez will be out 4-6 weeks with grade 2 tear of the MCL in his left knee.
There’s no replacing Perez, a five-time All-Star with four Gold Gloves and a career WAR (Baseball Reference version) of 19.8 who has averaged 20 home runs and 73 RBI a season over the last five campaigns. But get ready Royals fans, Drew Butera will be your starting catcher until about mid-May.
Butera is entering his third full season as Perez’s backup. Over 75 games last season (74 behind the plate-43 starts), he posted a .227/.284/.319 slash-line with three home runs and 14 RBI over 177 plate appearances. For his career, spanning eight seasons with the Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Angels and the Royals, Butera has a slash-line of .203/.258/.299 with 16 home runs and 90 RBI.
Butera’s “best” offensive seasons have been 2011 (two home runs, 23 RBI) with the Twins, 2012 with the Twins (.198 batting average, .550 OPS) and 2016 with the Royals (.285/.328/.480 slash-line-.808 OPS). As expected he’s been below replacement level overall, with a -2.2 career WAR and being worth -10 oRAR (Offensive Runs above Replacement Level).
There is some good news though, as Perez is not likely to need surgery.
The Royals are not expected to be very good this year, with the significant offseason losses of first baseman Eric Hosmer and outfielder Lorenzo Cain in free agency. But losing a mainstay like Perez, especially for the length of time he’ll be out, puts them even further on a 90-plus loss track.