Kansas City Royals sign veteran catcher Martin Maldonado to one-year contract

Martin Maldonado #15 of the Houston Astros fields a past ball during the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox in Game Two of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 14, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Royals have officially signed veteran catcher Martin Maldonado to a one-year deal after Salvador Perez suffered a season-ending injury.

The Royals announced Monday they’ve agreed to terms with the 32-year-old, who will now begin his ninth season in the major leagues with the Royals. Terms of the contract were not publicly released, but sources tell ESPN Maldonado will make $2.5 million. The deal includes up to $1.4 million in performance bonuses.

Maldonado spent last season with the Los Angeles Angels and the Houston Astros with 111 starts, third most in the American League.

His biggest strength has been his ability to frame pitches and play defense, and his experience should help what is expected to be a young Royals team this season.

Behind the plate he had a 45.5 percent caught stealing percentage, the second best in the MLB — behind only Perez. He was also a Gold Glove winner at catcher in 2017, which broke Perez’s streak of four straight.

Offensively, Maldonado had a .225 average with nine home runs and 44 RBIs between the Astros and the Angels.

The team has now placed Perez on the 60-day injury list. Perez injured his ulnar collateral ligament during a spring training workout. Doctors determined he would need Tommy John surgery, which would keep him out of the 2019 season.

The Royals also have Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria as catchers on their 40-man roster.

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