Even though Tuesday’s game lasted under two hours, you need to stay up late if you want to digest all the Royals news of the day, as the brain trust at 1 Royal Way made another roster move in the wee hours announcing the planned call-up of catcher Sal Perez from the Storm Chasers.
The Process not only rolls along, it’s at cruising speed.
Interesting timing on the call-up for Perez, but the Royals are going to be shorthanded as Brayan Pena’s wife is pregnant and will be induced on Wednesday in Miami. Perez has only been in Omaha for a couple of weeks and has put together a fine start, hitting .333/.347/.500 in 48 at bats. He has yet to walk and has struck out just six times. Prior to becoming a Storm Chaser, he hit .283/.329/.427 in just under 300 plate appearances for the Naturals. In that time, he walked just 16 times but had only 30 strikeouts. To say Perez is all about making contact would be an understatement.
Sometimes the best laid plans… I bet you free articles on the internet that the Royals, knowing Pena would leave the team at some point to be with his wife, had planned to call Manny Pina. Of course, Pina’s call was accelerated by the concussion suffered by Matt Treanor. With Treanor still on the seven-day DL, and Pena’s wife set to pop, the Royals hands are suddenly tied. They face the prospect of having to make a 40-man roster move to replace a player that may be gone for just a couple of days. Sometimes the dominoes fall in a different order than you expect.
What’s really interesting about this is the article in the Star says Perez is expected to be the regular catcher. I know he’s supposed to be the catcher of the future, but I guess I’m kind of surprised they would make that kind of statement with Pina just up from the farm himself. Besides, Pena is on baseball’s version of paternity leave. It’s not like the guy is going to be gone for six weeks. If you want to try to read between the lines, it seems the Royals will move Pina back to Omaha (he was in Northwest Arkansas when he was recalled, having swapped spots with Perez) for the remainder of the season. If Treanor is cleared to play, I wonder if the club will decide to keep four catchers on their major league roster once rosters expand on September 1.
I know there will be howls about the Royals rushing Perez. Honestly, who knows what the Royals are thinking at this point. Yes, he does have a handful of limited appearances above Double-A, but I believe the Royals were planning on adding him to the 40-man and bringing him up in September. This accelerates his Process by about four weeks. It strikes everyone as an odd move because this is so against the method the Royals have used. I mean, if anything, they wait too long to bring guys up. If there’s one thing the Royals system is doing correctly at this stage in The Process is develop position players. If they think Perez can handle full-time duty at the big league level, I’ll give them a free pass here. Let’s see what he’s got.
Could the Royals have recalled another catcher? Someone like Cody Clark, who is hitting .274/.328/.462 as a backup in Omaha? Sure. But thinking they would do that would be to ignore everything we know about the way this organization works. Clark is in Omaha as organizational filler. They don’t use 40-man roster spots on guys who aren’t part of the long term plan. Clark is a nice backup for Triple-A, but he’s the emergency guy in case all else fails. All else being the four guys in front of him in the pecking order. Besides, Perez needed to be added to the 40-man this winter. Again, they’re just accelerating his Process.
That said, I figured the Royals were done calling up position players until September. And even then, I thought the call-ups would be limited to the guys already on the 40-man roster… Like Lorenzo Cain and a couple of pitchers. You know how Dayton Moore has a hard time dealing with a 25-man roster? Yeah, the 40 man kind of gives him fits. It seems like he just hates to make a move. See his comments last week about not wanting to expose Luis Mendoza to waivers. Now, we’re in the same position we were last week (sort of) in guessing who the Royals will dump to get Perez on the roster. Last time, I listed three possibilities and missed on the eventual loser (Navarro) so let’s just skip this exercise. Trying to guess what this front office will do based on logic is a losing proposition. They march to their own beat. (I’ll go ahead and place my money on Jesse Chavez, knowing I’m making a sucker bet.)
It will be interesting to see how the rest of the week shakes out, with a Pena return imminent, Treanor’s continued recovery from the concussion and Perez and Pina and the ultimate battle for playing time. If I were a betting man, I’d bet we see Pina down to Omaha when Pena returns and Treanor held out until the rosters expand in September. Of course, I wouldn’t be surprised if Pena and Treanor were back at the catching tandem in a couple of weeks and Pina and Perez back in their respective slots in the minors.
With this team, it’s impossible to predict.