Target 1: Salvador Perez
Coming into 2022, Mike Zunino was slotted to be a major bat in the Rays lineup and is being paid one of the highest salaries on the team to do so. Thus far, he has slashed just .152/.200/.313, which is unacceptable play for what was expected of him. Trading for a guy like Salvador Perez could transform the Rays lineup.
Although backup catcher Francisco Mejia has been a fine option to start the year, acquiring Perez would be wise to pair with Mejia at catcher and rotate at the DH spot. Perez is slashing just .199/.240/.404 for a struggling Royals ballclub, and although he signed an extension with the club before the 2021 season, Kansas City would be wise to shop one of the centerpieces of their 2015 World Series team. Unfortunately for Perez, he has been battling a thumb injury, which is clearly impacting his performance.
Last season, Perez had an OPS of .850 with 48 HR and 121 RBI on a club with very little talent around him. Inserting that level of talent into the middle of the lineup on a contending team could rejuvenate Perez's production. Even if he is only able to regain 70% of the player he was last season, that would still be a huge boost to the Rays lineup.
For the Royals, the club is still far from being a contender in the American League and has an up-and-coming catcher in MJ Melendez who has produced thus far at the big league level and needs to get consistent reps for his development. As difficult as it can be to part with club icons, we just saw the Chicago Cubs sell off their key players from their 2016 run, and the Royals would be wise to do the same with their beloved catcher