Trout to Kiermaier: The richest signing of all 30 MLB teams

Oct 8, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) reacts after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during game two of the Wild Card series against the San Diego Padres for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 8, 2022; New York City, New York, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) reacts after hitting a solo home run in the first inning during game two of the Wild Card series against the San Diego Padres for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Citi Field. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /
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Salvador Perez. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Salvador Perez. Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

26. Kansas City Royals

The Royals are viewed as a small market franchise, but they’ve had their moments. Between 2015 and 2018, they averaged a solidly middle class $127 million payroll, and along the way won a World Series.

That spending spree included giving $72 million over four years to Alex Gordon in 2012. That was the team record until 2022, when the franchise ponied up $82 million over four years for perennial All-Star catcher Salvador Perez, who was coming off a league-leading 48 home runs and 121 runs batted in.

That contract is off to a fairly tepid start. In 2022, Perez played just 114 games and hit a so-so .254 in its first season. His home run production fell to 23, his RBI total to 76.

The Perez contract dominates the current Royals’ landscape. It is likely to project to more than one-quarter of the total team payroll, and for the moment at least equates to nearly as much as the team’s next three highest paid players.

At a $20.5 million AAV, Perez’s deal now holds the Royals record in that category as well.

Both of those, of course, were in-house extensions. For an outsider, the biggest deal was a five-year, $70 million contract to starter/reliever Ian Kennedy in 2016.