The Royals announced Perez's right elbow surgery in a news release.
"Unfortunately, injuries are a part of the game," Royals general manager Dayton Moore said. "We fully expect Salvy to return to our club once healthy and continue to play with the passion and enjoyment that he has played with since joining our organization.
"His leadership and production on the field will not be easy to replicate, but as a team we will embrace this unforeseen challenge and are excited for the 2019 championship season."
Perez, 28, hit .235 with 27 home runs and 80 RBIs in 129 games in 2018, making his sixth-consecutive All-Star appearance. The eight-year veteran owns a career .266 batting average and has 141 long balls since making his Major League Baseball debut in 2011 for the Royals.
He could be ready for opening day in 2020 if his rehab goes well. The Royals are likely to use Cam Gallagher and rookie Meibrys Viloria as their catchers this season in Perez's absence.
Dr. Neal ElAttrache performed Perez's surgery Wednesday in Los Angeles. He suffered the injury Feb. 27 while throwing during spring training drills in Surprise, Ariz.
Perez is due $11.2 million in 2019. He is set to make $14.2 million annually in 2020 and 2021. The Royals begin the 2019 regular season against the Chicago White Sox at 4:15 p.m. March 28 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.