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AL Central Notes: Perez, Jimenez, Dobnak

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Everyone destroyed that deal,” a rival executive tells The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal about the general opinion of the Royals’ four-year, $82MM contract extension with Salvador Perez last March. Though that extension doesn’t kick in until next season, it is now looking like a shrewd move in the wake of Perez’s huge 2021 numbers. Perez entered today’s action with 42 homers, a .276/.316/.548 slash line, and a league-best 104 RBIs over 569 plate appearances. While Perez had shown some big power in the past and delivered a .986 OPS during 156 PA in the abbreviated 2020 season, nobody saw this type of slugging breakout coming in the veteran catcher’s age-31 campaign.

What looked like an overpay in March now looks pretty close to what the market value would’ve been for Perez as a free agent this winter, as 2021 was the final year of Perez’s previous deal (a five-year, $52.5MM pact) with Kansas City. Given Perez’s importance to the Royals organization, the team might have been willing to engage in some form of a bidding war to retain Perez in free agency, though that is a scenario the Royals are undoubtedly pleased to have avoided.

More from around the division…

  • White Sox slugger Eloy Jimenez has missed his team’s last two games due to a bone bruise on his right knee. The injury is “significant,” manager Tony La Russa told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers and other reporters, though there is some hope Jimenez can return to the lineup in relatively short order. While sitting in the dugout on Tuesday, Jimenez suffered the injury after being hit by a line drive of an Andrew Vaughn foul ball, and eventually had to leave the game. The increasingly banged-up White Sox are missing a few key players on the injured list already, though Chicago has plenty of cushion atop the all-but-decided AL Central.
  • The Twins placed right-hander Randy Dobnak on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to September 8) due to a strain in his right middle finger. Left-hander Andrew Albers was called up from Triple-A to take over Dobnak’s scheduled start in today’s game against the Indians. Dobnak already missed over two months of the season with another strain involving the same finger, and given both the late date on the calendar and the apparent recurring nature of the injury, it is possible that Dobnak might not pitch again in 2021. It’s been a tough season for the righty, who pitched so well in his 2020 rookie season that Minnesota inked Dobnak to a five-year extension worth at least $9.25MM in guaranteed money. Working as both a starter and a reliever this year, Dobnak struggled in both roles, en route to a 7.64 ERA over 50 2/3 innings, with 11 home runs allowed.
 
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