A year ago, this answer would have been obvious. Salvador Perez was having his best year ever hitting the ball, he was a clubhouse leader, was healthy, and looked poised to bring these Royals into next year as a contender. Looking at it now, after the disappointment that was this season, the answer becomes murkier. Perez is on his way back from injury, getting put on rehab assignment in Triple A Omaha, and young budding star MJ Melendez is doing the catching in his place. Before that, Salvador was coming off a pretty disappointing performance in the season to the point of when his injury occurred, posting a .211 average (which by Royals standards isn't terrible but for Salvador standards, is a career low) with 47 hits off of 223 at bats, and 11 home runs when by this time last year that number was in the 30s. Salvador is coming up on a negotiation for a new contract as well, and with how this year went it may be time for Salvador to rest or be traded.
MJ Melendez has had a fairly decent season though, however, averaging .228 with 51 hits and 224 at bats. 3 weeks ago he was named as a player to watch by FantasyPros.com, and he's one of the young guys that has truly shined with his tenure in the big leagues. The question remains however, when and IF Salvador Perez is ready to rejoin the big leagues, will he replace MJ Melendez or will he be a key backup? In what may very well be Salvador's last year with the Royals, there's a possibility that they may have him finish out the season if he comes back. That puts MJ Melendez's big league development into question though, when is the old guard going to be relieved by the new guard eager to get that experience and build on the long run? Yes, it's symbolic, but that's about it. Stats and development wise it just doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Salvador will always have a place in KC legend, he was World Series MVP and won multiple awards for how good he was. He will forever be etched in as one of the Royals' best players ever, however there comes a time where guys pass their prime and in turn need to pass the torch. I believe the Royals may have reached that with Perez, as sad as it is to say. I say let him go out with dignity though, and get him at least a few games. If nothing else, we make sure he has a good, happy retirement party and we enshrine that man in the Royals Hall of Fame as soon as possible. Perhaps even Cooperstown, if he is so worthy.
Burn Notice: 9/10 The torch grows weary and needs new light