"Negotiations are impossible to predict, but there is an openness from the team's side that didn't exist before," reports Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.
It's the Royals who have the leverage here. Kansas City signed Perez to a contract in 2012 that put him under club control, including three option years, through 2019. Mellinger says the Royals will be paying Perez about $20 million over the next four years, a real bargain for a three-time Gold Glove winner who is just 25 years old.
But Perez did guarantee himself a nice chunk of financial security when he agreed to the existing deal, and he would not be giving any money back had his career fizzled early. The Royals also have built an elite franchise by taking advantage of their core players, so it makes sense to keep Perez happy, assuming the demands are reasonable.
Here are more rumors making the rounds on Thursday:
Yovani Gallardo: The Baltimore Orioles signed the free-agent right-hander to a restructured two-year deal on Thursday that could be worth up to $33 million over three years. The deal hit a snag after the Orioles reviewed Gallardo's pre-signing physical, but was not in serious danger of falling apart altogether. “Both had a lot to gain -- and plenty to lose -- by walking away,” writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun.
Austin Jackson: The free-agent outfielder has been linked to the Indians, but the Tribe is “pretty much tapped out as far as payroll goes,” says Paul Hoynes of the Plain Dealer. Cleveland already has used its free-agent dollars on Mike Napoli, Rajai Davis and Juan Uribe.
Ian Desmond: Commissioner Rob Manfred placed shortstop Jose Reyes on paid leave Tuesday pending completion of his domestic-violence case in Hawaii, fueling speculation that the Rockies might make a serious play for Desmond. MLB.com’s Thomas Harding, however, insists contact with Desmond has been "minimal," despite reports to the contrary.
Corey Seager: Dodgers manager Dave Roberts ended any talk that Seager could move from shortstop to third base, reports MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick. Some scouts question whether Seager's 6-foot-4 frame would be better suited for third base. "We'll keep Corey at short," Roberts said. Enrique Hernandez is considered the primary backup to Seager at shortstop.
Matt Holliday: The 36-year-old outfielder concedes the Cardinals may wait out the season before making a decision on his $17 million team option for 2017, reports Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Holliday was limited to 73 games last season due to injuries and posted career lows in home runs (four) and slugging percentage (.410).
Kurt Suzuki: The Minnesota Twins added John Ryan Murphy to the mix over the winter, but manager Paul Molitor insists Suzuki will begin the season as his No. 1 catcher, according to Lavelle E. Neal of the Star Tribune. Suzuki slumped to a .240 batting average with 50 RBI last season while throwing out only 15 percent of runners attempting to steal. This could be an interesting in-season battle given the upside of the 24-year-old Murphy, who hit .277 in 69 games for the Yankees. The 32-year-old Suzuki is signed only through this season with a vesting option for 2017.