MLB notebook: Royals sign catcher Perez to 5-year deal
Salvador Perez signed a club-friendly deal with the Royals four years ago in part so his mother, Yilda, would no longer have to work in their increasingly violent hometown in Venezuela.
Now, Perez hopes he can move her to the U.S. permanently.
The Royals signed the All-Star catcher to a contract through 2021 on Tuesday that guarantees him an additional $52.5 million over five seasons. The deal was announced two days after Yilda had her SUV stolen at gunpoint on the way to the market. She was unharmed, and the vehicle was later recovered by the police.
“It feels like a family here,” Perez said. “Hopefully, I can play the rest of my career here, be one of these guys like Frank White and George Brett.”
The 25-year-old Perez is set to make $2 million this season, the final guaranteed year of a deal signed in 2012 that included club options for 2017-19. His new deal includes a $6 million signing bonus and salaries of $3 million next season, $7.5 million in 2018, $10 million in 2019 and $13 million each in 2020 and 2021.
Perez is the second homegrown star to agree to a long-term deal with Kansas City this offseason, joining All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon, who signed a $72 million, four-year contract in January.
Arrieta to open for Cubs
As expected, NL Cy Young Award winner Jake Arrieta will start the Cubs' season opener.
Manager Joe Maddon joked that he had “another surprise” in making the announcement Tuesday.
The Cubs, coming off a 97-win season and appearance in the NL Championship Series, open at the Los Angeles Angels on April 4.
Arrieta led the majors in wins while going 22-6 and posting a 1.77 ERA last year. His ERA after the All-Star break was 0.75.
The right-hander went 11-0 over his final 12 starts, and he finished with 236 strikeouts. Arrieta also tossed a no-hitter and beat out Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw for the Cy Young Award.
Rays to travel to Cuba
The Rays' exhibition game against Cuba's national team in Havana on March 22 has been finalized. It is Major League Baseball's first trip to the communist island nation since the Baltimore Orioles played there in 1999.
Commissioner Rob Manfred said “during a time of historic change, we appreciate the constructive role afforded by our shared passion for the game, and we look forward to experiencing Cuba's storied baseball tradition and the passion of its many loyal fans.”
Manfred drew the Rays on Nov. 13 from a bin of teams that wanted to make the trip.
U.S. teams played spring training games in Cuba before Fidel Castro's revolution, but none appeared there from March 1959 until the Orioles faced Cuba's national team in Havana 40 years later.
The game will be televised by ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
Marlins pitcher hurting
Before playing their first exhibition game Tuesday, the Marlins were facing their first worrisome injury issue.
Manager Don Mattingly said reliever Carter Capps underwent an MRI on his right elbow and that the results were being sent for a second opinion.
Capps, who didn't pitch after Aug. 2 because of an elbow sprain, had his most recent live batting practice session called off after feeling soreness in the elbow.
Around the bases
Dodgers reliever Josh Ravin broke his left forearm in an automobile accident and needs surgery. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said it is not clear how long Ravin will be sidelined following Monday's accident. Ravin was 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA in 9 1⁄3 innings last season, his first big league appearances following a decade in the minors. ... The Mariners finalized a major league contract with Cuban outfielder Guillermo Heredia. Heredia has not played competitive baseball since 2014 and defected from Cuba last year. Seattle said he hit .285 with 23 homers and 121 RBIs over 374 games during six seasons with Matanzas.