Tag: Alex Gordon

Alex Gordon Injury: Updates on Royals Star’s Wrist and Return

The Kansas City Royals placed left fielder Alex Gordon on the disabled list with a wrist injury, per Joel Goldberg of Fox Sports Kansas City.

Continue for updates.

Cheslor Cuthbert to Replace Gordon on 25-Man Roster

Monday, May 23

The Kansas City Star‘s Rustin Dodd reported Sunday that Gordon sprained his wrist in Kansas City’s 3-2 loss to the Chicago White Sox. Gordon collided with teammate Mike Moustakas while attempting to catch a foul ball off the bat of Melky Cabrera:

It’s not exactly what the Royals wanted out of the face of their franchise, who managed to stay with the team by signing a four-year, $72 million deal in the offseason as a free agent, via Spotrac.com

He struggled to start the season, much like the rest of his team. He was batting well under .250 as his Royals struggled to play .500 ball.

What’s more frustrating is that the trend of injuries continues for Gordon, who missed over 50 games after straining his groin during the 2015 season while tracking a fly ball in left field. 

He was able to come back and finish the regular season batting .271 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI, but it was his postseason contributions that made him so invaluable, as the Royals won their first World Series in 30 years.

Gordon has been an All-Star in each of the past three years and has led the team in on-base percentage in the last two. His ability to get on base fit so well in a Royals lineup that didn’t necessarily boast a ton of superstar talent or power.

Instead, it was a perfectly balanced group of players who found ways to win games. 

And according to manager Ned Yost, who spoke with Tyler Kepner of the New York Times, Gordon is just as valuable to the team off the field. 

“Everybody in that locker room looks up to him,” Yost said. “Everything he does is to be ready to play a baseball game, from the food he eats to the exercises that he does early in the weight room to the preparation before the game. His routine is impeccable, and guys see this.”

Now the Royals will have to rely on the likes of Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando to complement Lorenzo Cain in the outfield. While they don’t hold the same kind of offensive prowess as Gordon, Dyson can motor on the basepaths, which could make him a solid choice at the top of Kansas City’s lineup. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Alex Gordon-Royals Reunion Shows Stars Don’t Have to Leave to Win Free Agency

Free agency is great when it works, and it doesn’t only work when a player signs a record contract or when your favorite team grabs the biggest star in the game.

Free agency works when a player gets to play where he wants the most and the team gets to keep the player it wants the most. It works when a small-market club can energize a region, win a World Series and still have a chance to go after another one.

The Kansas City Royals were never going to be able to keep every player who took them to the top, but they’ve kept the one they really wanted this winter. And by signing left fielder Alex Gordon to a four-year, $72 million deal, which Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com first reported, the Royals proved free agency can work for everyone.

OK, so maybe the process is not working all that well right now for the St. Louis Cardinals, but no Royals fan is going to feel sorry for the Missouri team that so often gets what it wants.

The Royals were an ugly mess for so many years, but they got to the top by doing almost everything right. They got the right management team and the right players, and they put together an organization that no one wants to leave.

They targeted this window to win, knowing some things had fallen into place and that they couldn’t keep this group together forever. Soon enough, the bill would come due, with Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain and Wade Davis all eligible for free agency after the 2017 season.

So the Royals threw everything they had at winning now. They went all out after Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist at the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, giving up prospects even though they knew both players would almost certainly be half-season rentals.

The Royals weren’t going to keep Cueto or Zobrist, and there was plenty of doubt whether they could keep Gordon. Just a few days ago, one club official expressed hope but also caution, saying the Royals would have a good chance unless the bidding got to $100 million.

Apparently, it didn’t get there—perhaps because of the number of outfielders on the market (Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton remain unsigned) or because Gordon will turn 32 in February.

He still gets a contract that easily breaks the club record (Mike Sweeney and Gil Meche held the old record at $55 million). He gets $18 million per year (only 10 outfielders in the game make more, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts).

And he gets to live where he wants and play where he wants. Gordon grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, and has homes both there and in Kansas City. He went to school in Lincoln at the University of Nebraska, signed with the Royals as the second overall pick in the 2005 draft and has never gone anywhere else.

He first showed up as the third baseman who was going to be the next George Brett, and then he became an outfielder who was loved by scouts and analytics folks alike. He’s superb defensively, and offensively he fits perfectly in the Royals lineup.

When he suffered a serious groin strain early last July, some worried the loss might ruin the already promising Royals season. I wrote the next day they were strong enough to get by without him, and sure enough they went 31-18 in the 49 games he missed.

Losing him now would have been much more costly.

The Royals have more young talent on the way, but they have no one like Gordon to step in after a winter where they will likely let their other starting corner outfielder, Alex Rios, leave via free agency. In an American League Central that is looking increasingly competitive after winter moves by the Chicago White Sox and Detroit Tigers, the Royals will be challenged to stay on top.

Retaining Gordon reinforces the idea they’re willing to try. By keeping the contract reasonable and short enough, they may even have a better chance of retaining some of those post-2017 free agents, too.

There’s no guarantee any of them will want to stay as much as Gordon did or that free agency will work out as well for the Royals then as it has now.

But that’s two years down the line. First, the Royals get more chances to win with this group—chances to extend a window that easily could have closed soon after those hundreds of thousands of fans showed up for the World Series parade.

That day, not knowing whether he was saying goodbye, Gordon picked up the microphone and thanked “the best fans in the world.”

Two months later, there’s no need for goodbyes.

This time, free agency worked.


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

Follow Danny on Twitter and talk baseball.

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Alex Gordon Re-Signs with Royals: Latest Contract Details, Comments, Reaction

Outfielder Alex Gordon has agreed to re-sign with the Kansas City Royals on a four-year deal with a mutual option for the 2020 season, the team announced

Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com, citing sources, first reported the deal. ESPN’s Buster Olney confirmed Flanagan’s report and noted that the deal is worth $72 million over four years.

CBS Eye on Baseball’s Dave Brown reported that Gordon’s deal is the most expensive one in Royals history, as the previous high was $55 million over five years for Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney.

Having just completed his ninth season in the majors, all with the Royals, Gordon’s four-year, $37.5 million contract expired after the team’s first World Series win since 1985, as noted by Spotrac. That deal came on the heels of a 2011 season that saw him bat .303 with 23 home runs and 87 RBI. 

In 2015, Gordon’s numbers weren’t quite as attractive. In fact, he didn’t match those 2011 numbers in any of the four years of his last contract. But what he did show toward the end of his deal is that he’s capable of leading a winning team.

Gordon was one of the integral pieces that helped lead the Royals to the World Series in 2014 despite a .204 postseason average. In 2015, as the Royals stormed their way to an American League Central title, Gordon missed over 50 games in the regular season due to a groin injury.

Ready for the postseason, Gordon hit the tying home run during the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of the World Series. That helped set the tone moving forward, as Kansas City won in five games over the New York Mets. 

With a knack for coming up big in heavy situations, Kansas City is also keeping one of the most well-respected players in the league, as Royals play-by-play man Ryan Lefebvre told JournalStar.com’s Brian Rosenthal in 2014:

I don’t know if there’s a more respected player in the league by everybody—young guys, veteran guys, middle-of-the-road guys, coaches, managers. There’s 29 other teams that would love to have Alex Gordon. And I think the organization sees him as somebody where you don’t really have to tell the minor-leaguers what Alex Gordon is all about. All you have to do is say, “Just watch Alex Gordon every day. Just watch what he does.”

His left-handed bat, Gold Glove in left field and leadership skills made him an attractive asset for teams in free agency.

With Gordon back, the Royals keep their model outfielder and can focus on smoothing out the rougher edges on their roster as they prepare to defend their World Series title. 


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

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Post-New Year Predictions for the Rest of the MLB Offseason

Yoenis Cespedes, Chris Davis, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton have historically bad luck.

As Joel Sherman of the New York Post sees it, the market for free-agent game-changers has never developed at a slower pace.

“Never has there been this many talented free agents unsigned this late into the offseason.”

While those unfortunate and unemployed stars wait to find out where they’ll be playing in 2016, let’s play a game of offseason musical chairs and predict where everyone will end up when the music stops.

Free-agent hitters dominate the conversation, but there’s also room on the list for a prediction about one trade target who smashed 40 home runs during the season that was.

Begin Slideshow

Alex Gordon Can Provide Jason Heyward Impact at Nearly Half the Cost

Alex Gordon is the alternative.

Exactly what kind of secondary option on the free-agent market to someone like Jason Heyward he can actually be, well, every team with an outfield need is still calculating that.

In this era of ballooning market values, teams are still leery about what they consider overpaying for a player, especially one beyond 30 years old whose value is tied into being an elite defender and not a middle-of-the-order bat. This may be why the outfield market, even with Heyward setting the $184 million bar, has become so slow to play out. Gordon has a case to be a nine-figure player, but it appears, as of now, no club wants to make that kind of commitment to him.

Even still, one cannot deny Gordon’s place in the game. He has been one of the most valuable outfielders in the American League over the last five years, and for a team not wanting to hand out six or seven years and upward of $150 million, Gordon could be the most attractive alternative.

Gordon’s only franchise to this point in his career, the Kansas City Royals, reportedly have “no chance” of re-signing the left fielder as things currently stand, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. That is because the club’s offer, according to ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden (via MLB Trade Rumors’ ), would have topped out at around $52 million for four years. Gordon is reportedly seeking a deal that would pay him an average annual value of around $20 million, per Heyman, putting him at or over the $100 million mark over a five-year contract. 

“We have a tremendous amount of respect for Alex Gordon and what he has done here,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com. “He has been a terrific player. He’s played on a championship team. We all appreciate the history of Alex Gordon in Kansas City.

“But it would be reckless and inappropriate to comment on any negotiation,” Moore added. “We’re just not going to do that.”

So, let’s assume the Royals have “no chance” to get Gordon based on those reports. That leaves teams like the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Angels, St. Louis Cardinals and Baltimore Orioles, according to Heyman. And most recently, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Chicago White Sox have gotten into the mix as they undergo a second roster shakeup in as many offseasons in their attempt to compete in the AL Central:

The interest in Gordon is multifaceted.

As an offensive weapon, he can hit anywhere in the lineup. Last season for the World Series champion Royals he batted leadoff, second, fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth, and in the postseason, he occupied four of those spots in the lineup. Since becoming a full-time left fielder in 2011, Gordon has a .359 OBP and has flashed 20-homer potential that could easily be reached if he played his future home games in a more hitter-friendly ballpark.

Gordon stands out more defensively. Since 2011, he has obliterated all major league left fielders in all of the defensive metrics, based on FanGraphs’ formulas. And in terms of all big league outfielders, Gordon’s 94 defensive runs saved are second to only Heyward’s 107.

When it comes to wins above replacement, Gordon’s 25.1 FanGraphs WAR since 2011 is fourth in the majors among outfielders behind Mike Trout, Andrew McCutchen and Jose Bautista, as NBC Sports’ Aaron Gleeman noted. That includes the 2015 season when Gordon missed 58 games and spent nearly eight weeks on the disabled list with a groin injury.

Of course, it all depends on how much value a front office actually puts into WAR. While it is a nice catchall kind of statistic, the Baseball-Reference version of it had Tampa Bay Rays center fielder Kevin Kiermaier as the third-most valuable player in the American League behind Trout and Josh Donaldson last season. While we should understand Kiermaier’s worth in this day and age, no one is confusing him for the third-best player in either league.

Either way, Gordon is clearly an elite outfielder. And even going into his age-32 season, he figures to age decently—or as well as a 32-year-old on a potential five-year deal possibly can—because of his on-base skills and the fact that he won’t be asked to play center field, as the Chicago Cubs are expected to have Heyward do next season.

There is also the hugely obvious reason Gordon is valuable on this current open market, which also includes much younger and more powerful players like Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes—money. Gordon might seek and receive a nine-figure contract, but he won’t reach the heights of what Upton or Cespedes might get, let alone Heyward. We are talking about, potentially, up to $60 million less for Gordon than the other two available free-agent left fielders.

Gordon is an impact player, and as teams are looking to not overpay for position players the way they already have for pitchers during this offseason, he becomes as coveted as anyone still on the market. A team will not have to commit to him the way it will for Upton or Cespedes, and especially Heyward.

For a team expected to contend in the next few seasons, Gordon is the kind of piece to potentially change its fortunes for the better while still providing payroll flexibility. No other player on the market, at any position, can claim that.


All quotes, unless otherwise specified, have been acquired firsthand by Anthony Witrado. Follow Anthony on Twitter @awitrado and talk baseball here.

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Updating the Hottest Questions of the 2015-16 MLB Offseason, Week 7

It’s already Week 7 of the 2015-16 MLB offseason, and Clayton Kershaw still needs a sidekick.

From figuring out who will be backing up baseball’s nastiest starter at Dodger Stadium to trying to explain why so many prominent free-agent bats remain unsigned, there are all sorts of questions to ponder as 2016 inches ever closer.

There’s room in this week’s conversation for talk about whether one of the game’s most underrated bullpen aces could be on the move. But first, let’s get back to Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ work-in-progress rotation.


Who Will Be the No. 2 Starter at Chavez Ravine?

The Jose Fernandez trade talk just won’t go away.

And the Miami Marlins aren’t exactly quashing the noise:

According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the door remains slightly ajar when it comes to the Dodgers and Fernandez:

But based on the Marlins’ staggering reported asking price, the key phrase is likely “no deal close.” Back during the winter meetings, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com explained that the Fish wanted Julio Urias, Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and two more players in exchange for the electric Cuban.

For the Marlins, there’s no harm in asking. But that’s the kind of exorbitant demand that would lead Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman to hang up the phone and hang up fast.

Lyle Spencer of MLB.com suggested that Friedman should give Billy Beane a ring as he searches for that second ace:

Gray doesn’t generate the same buzz as Fernandez, but the diminutive righty is a rising star in his own right. In 2015, the starter landed third in the American League Cy Young Award voting. And Beane, the Oakland Athletics’ executive vice president of baseball operations, is in no rush to cash in on Gray.

“It’s a fair question,” Beane said, when asked by Joe Stiglich of CSN California about the topic of trading Gray. “And you could imagine how many people, at least early in the winter, were inquiring on him. We were pretty aggressively returning those calls and saying it wasn’t something we were gonna consider. That’s our stance now.”

So where could the Dodgers turn with Fernandez and Gray looking like virtual no-go’s?

Jake Odorizzi is one guy to watch out for. Per Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, Los Angeles has already checked in with the Tampa Bay Rays about the starter, who turns 26 in March.

Odorizzi doesn’t have nearly the same national profile as Fernandez or even Gray, but there’s still a lot to like about his arm. Last year, the starter was eighth in the AL with a 3.35 ERA. Thanks to his contract situation, he could also be a Dodger for the foreseeable future, as he remains under team control through the 2020 season.

The Answer: Odorizzi


What the Heck Is Going on with the Free-Agent Market for Bats?

The market for top-of-the-line position players has been moving about as fast as a glacier.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports provided the cold hard numbers: “Only two free-agent position players have signed multiyear contracts this offseason for more than $20 million guaranteed—outfielder Jason Heyward and infielder Ben Zobrist.”

Surveying the remaining class of bats, here’s the list of guys who should have already cleared that relatively low bar:

Davis is the outlier here, as the masher could have already landed a new gig if he had wanted to. As Heyman noted, the Baltimore Orioles “pulled” a seven-year, $154 million offer after Crush Davis and his agent Scott Boras took too long thinking about it.

The slow play is classic Boras, as the super-agent is well-known for his strategy of waiting out the market before securing a megadeal seemingly out of nowhere at the last moment.

But when it comes to the nearly nonexistent market for Cespedes, Upton and Gordon, it’s much more difficult to explain just what’s going on.

Cespedes cracked 35 home runs last year, and so far he doesn’t have a single reported offer.

Noah Syndergaard would like to see the New York Mets make an offer.

“Of course we’re hoping [that he’ll be back],” Syndergaard said, per Dan Martin of the New York Post. “We all saw the tear he went on from July through the end of the season. We’d love to have that bat back in the lineup, so as long as he’s out there, we’re hoping for that.”

But Joel Sherman of the Post was quick to dash those hopes:

As long as Cespedes remains on the block, Upton could be in a bind. Like La Potencia, Upton is a slugger best suited for left field. But last year, Cespedes trumped Upton in WAR, average, slugging percentage, OPS, home runs and RBI, per FanGraphs.

And then there’s Gordon. Unlike Cespedes and Upton, at least the longtime Kansas City Royal has drawn some concrete interest, per Heyman, from clubs like the Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels and San Francisco Giants. Rosenthal also added the Chicago White Sox to that list.

That’s a good start for Gordon.

The problem is that he’s not just competing for a job with all those other corner guys on the free-agent front. He’s also competing with star trade pieces like Carlos Gonzalez. According to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, CarGo—he of 40 home runs in 2015—is available in a swap.

Simply put, the free-agent and trade marketplaces are flush with talent. And word in the industry is that there are more than a few clubs who have no interest in writing any big checks.

That’s a bad look for the game, and even worse news for the players.

The Answer: Thanks in Part to Tanking, Supply is Exceeding Demand


Will the Pittsburgh Pirates Sell High on Mark Melancon?

Neal Huntington, the understated general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, never wins the offseason.

But the clubs that he constructs have a knack for racking up wins during the regular season, as the Bucs have tallied at least 88 Ws in each of the past three campaigns.

The trick is Huntington is always thinking one step ahead and making moves that keep the roster deep yet cost-controlled. With the unheralded Mark Melancon hanging in the trade winds, just such a move could be on tap for the National League Central squad.

“We’ve never had to trade Mark,” Huntington said, per Adam Berry of MLB.com. “It’s always been [a question of] if we’re better with him with us, or if we think it’s a better move for the organization to move him elsewhere, and that still applies.”

That sounds like Huntington is daring rival execs to make him an offer he can’t refuse.

And why shouldn’t he? Melancon, who was eighth in Senior Circuit Cy Young voting in 2015, can become a free agent at the end of next season. The right-hander has put himself on track to score a monster haul next winter.

As a prime candidate to receive a qualifying offer, he’s also all but certain to net the Pirates a compensation pick if he departs. Following that line of reasoning, it would be a shrewd business decision for the team to move Melancon now if the return would significantly beat the value of a comp pick.

The Answer: Not Unless the Pirates Get Overwhelmed


Note: All stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

If you want to talk baseball, find me on Twitter @KarlBuscheck.

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2016 MLB Free Agents: Latest Rumors on Alex Gordon, Chris Davis, Scott Kazmir

Many of the big-ticket free agents in this year’s loaded class of have found new homes before the holiday, but given a dense contingent of 139 free agents total, plenty of outliers remain. 

The pitching market has largely subsided now that blue chips Zack Greinke, David Price and Johnny Cueto have been whisked away with nine-figure deals, and Jason Heyward got the ball rolling among his fellow outfielders. 

There is still plenty of talent out there, as Christopher Kamka of CSNChicago.com noted:

Heyward‘s $184 million deal with the Chicago Cubs reportedly wasn’t his highest offer, which may have more of a ripple effect on where the bar is set among the rest of the outfield market. 

Heyward was considered the top free-agent outfielder this winter, and his deal was expected to set a new bar for his position for players like Chris Davis and Alex Gordon, among others. 

Here is a look at the latest buzz on a few high-profile names that still seek a home. 


White Sox Interested in Alex Gordon

The Chicago White Sox are interested in adding Alex Gordon and swooping him away from the incumbent Kansas City Royals, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports

While a union would certainly bolster the lineup to complement slugger Jose Abreu and newly acquired third baseman Todd Frazier, the White Sox already house Avisail Garcia and Melky Cabrera in their corner-outfield spots, and have Adam LaRoche at DH. 

Gordon is expected to net a five-year deal worth at least $100 million, per Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors, which may be out of the White Sox’s price range, per Rosenthal:

However, Rosenthal indicated that should the White Sox land Gordon, they’d shuffle other personnel in order to make a financial fit:

Gordon was an All-Star in each of the last three seasons and a key cog in the Royals’ pennant runs the past two Octobers as the team’s defensive catalyst. 

By adding multifaceted Gordon, the White Sox would not only bolster their starting lineup, but also pry away one of the primary contributors of a team within their division that by all signs will contend again in 2016. 


Orioles, Chris Davis Continue to Talk After Offer Pulled

Contract negotiations between the Baltimore Orioles and slugging first baseman Chris Davis reached a breaking point when the team pulled a seven-year, $150 million offer earlier this month, according to Buster Olney of ESPN The Magazine

Both parties contrast in what they believe is an appropriate offer, though Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reports dialogue remains ongoing between Davis’ agent Scott Boras and Orioles owner Peter Angelos:

Boras‘ claim is that the $22 million yearly figure is about what was paid to Jacoby Ellsbury, exactly what was paid to Hanley Ramirez and less than Jason Heyward got. And none of those players slugs like Davis.

While Orioles people are investigating other possibilities, it seems likely that to this point Angelos hasn’t given the go-ahead to sign someone to truly replace Davis.

However, Olney reported the team is seeking other options, albeit at a different position, to fill Davis’ potential power void in the lineup:

Davis led the majors in home runs two of the last three years but has been a notoriously streaky hitter, best shown by his .196/.300/.404 slash line in 2014 when he played 127 games. 

Because he packs the punch from the plate and today’s market is insanely inflated, Davis will likely land the deal he seeks. 

The Orioles missed out on the playoffs last year after reaching the ALCS the year prior, and while a void at first base may be difficult to endure, they may be better off investing elsewhere. 


Scott Kazmir Reportedly Has Plenty of Options

Now that Greinke, Price and Cueto are gone, Kazmir remains arguably the best starting pitcher on the market. 

Heyman reported Kazmir has multiple three-year offers in the $12-13 million per-year range, and Bob Nightengale of USA Today revealed who those suitors likely are: 

Rosenthal followed up that the Oakland A’s—with whom Kazmir pitched in 2014 and parts of 2015—are out of the mix after signing Henderson Alvarez to a one-year, $4.25 million deal.  

Kazmir still has plenty of options but is likely waiting for the first reasonable four-year offer, per Heyman

Kazmir, 31, is entering his 12th season but showed no signs of aging in a year he made 31 starts, threw 183 innings and compiled a 3.10 ERA with the A’s and Houston Astros. 

The Washington Nationals could use another starter to replace Jordan Zimmermann, the Royals are now sans Cueto with Kazmir a more affordable option and the St. Louis Cardinals lost the John Lackey sweepstakes. Kazmir would be a worthy replacement for any of those. 

The Astros don’t plan to simply re-sign Kazmir as trade bait, according to the Houston Chronicle‘s Evan Drellichand already have a great core around Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel, Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers and Lance McCullers Jr. Add a healthy Scott Feldman, and they’ll have a remarkable five. 

The Orioles might make the most sense given Wei-Yin Chen is reportedly seeking a five-year, $100 million deal, per Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com, and Baltimore will already be chasing the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays in a competitive AL East. 

Kazmir would be best suited to sign with a team he believes he’ll play a key role and with one that can contend. But he also should net that fourth year as a deserving and established lefty that would bolster the top of just about any rotation. 

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If Alex Gordon Walks Away, Will Royals Have Enough to Sustain Their Amazing Run?

First the good news, Royals fans: Kansas City made an offer to free-agent left fielder Alex Gordon, a key piece of their championship puzzle. The bad news? Gordon basically spit on it.

That’s according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, who updated the Gordon/K.C. talks Friday:

The Royals have made it a priority to try to keep star left fielder Alex Gordon. But so far the sides appear to have a sizable gap in talks. Word is, the Royals made a four-year offer, but Gordon’s camp is believed to consider it a proposal that’s too great a hometown discount, and has sent back discouraging words about the initial try.

Gordon is thought to seek a deal closer to $20 million annually, but the Royals may view that figure as far too rich for their blood, even with added flexibility. It would be nice to see Gordon, a homegrown player from Nebraska, remain a Royal for life. But at the moment, that seems to be far less than a certainty.

That doesn’t mean Gordon will definitely walk. But it undoubtedly calls into question his future with the only big league club he’s ever known. The Royals simply aren’t in the habit of handing out $20 million-per-year deals to anyone, homegrown fan favorite or no.

Which raises the question: If Gordon does bolt for a hefty payday elsewhere, will the Royals have enough talent to defend their title and keep this run going?

Let’s start in the outfield. In addition to Gordon, Kansas City could also lose right fielder Alex Rios to free agency. Rioswho hit just four home runs with an anemic .640 OPSwouldn’t be nearly as big a loss as Gordon, a four-time Gold Glove winner who posted an .809 OPS.

But that’s two holes the Royals have to plug on either side of American League MVP finalist Lorenzo Cain. Speedy Jarrod Dyson and Paulo Orlando, who made his big league debut last season at age 29, are currently at the top of the depth chart. Both are fine fourth outfielders, and Dyson’s game-changing legs make him an intriguing option to start.

“I think he’s capable of stealing 50-plus bases a year and scoring a bunch of runs,” general manager Dayton Moore said recently of Dyson, per KCTV’s Chris Oberholtz. “When he’s on base, we score runs.”

But for a team that’s about to be fitted with rings, Dyson and Orlando aren’t enough. The Royals made their name with a deep, balanced lineup that moved the line and gave opposing pitchers few if any chances to come up for air.

If Gordon exits, they should pursue another name from the next tier of free-agent outfielders, which includes Dexter Fowler and Denard Span.

And the outfield isn’t the only place where questions swirl. The Royals rotation won’t feature Johnny Cueto, last season’s trade-deadline cavalry, after the right-hander inked a six-year, $130 million deal with the San Francisco Giants.

Cueto‘s departure surprised no one, and his performance with K.C. was up-and-down anyway. But the Royals are currently counting on a group topped by Edinson Volquezwho’s steady but not an aceand the mercurial Yordano Ventura. Yes, they re-upped Chris Young to a one-year pact. That’s not going to raise any pulses.

Heyman noted that Kansas City “has its eye” on southpaw Wei-Yin Chen, along with Scott Kazmir and Yovani Gallardo. Chen is seeking a five-year, $100 million contract, according to MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko, so like Gordon he may be out of reach. But a solid No. 2-quality arm from this depleted yet still deep pitching market would leave K.C. in a much stronger position.

There’s plenty to like about this club.

The bullpen, anchored by Wade Davis, Kelvin Herrera and recently added Joakim Soriaremains an unmitigated strength. And even with uncertainty at the corner outfield spotsand Ben Zobrist also bolting via free agencythe lineup is littered with dangerous bats, including Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and World Series MVP Salvador Perez.

The Minnesota Twins are stocked with young talent. The Cleveland Indians are pitching-rich. And the Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox are retooling. The AL Central could be baseball’s most wide-open division, particularly if the Royals lose Gordon and don’t make any concurrent impact moves.

There’s a lot of winter left, obviously. And a gaggle of high-profile hitters—Chris Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton—remain unsigned.

Maybe the initial offer, the one Gordon coated in virtual saliva, was just the first salvo in an ongoing negotiation. Perhaps the Royals really are ready to break the bank to bring him back, to turn Missouri into the Show Me the Money State.

Moore and Co. have constructed a winner without cutting huge checks. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. But without a few more headline-grabbing machinations, the doubts will start to creep in.

At the winter meetings, Moore was asked about the possibility of re-signing Gordon. “I don’t know. We’ll see,” he said, per Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. “Don’t know the answer to that yet.”

He might as well have been talking about the whole offseason, and the Royals’ repeat chances. Like the Gordon conundrum, everything’s up in the air.

That’s good news and bad news.


All statistics current as of Dec. 18 and courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

Impact MLB Offseason Deals That Will Still Go Down Before the New Year

The 2015 MLB offseason has been an exercise in patience for prime-time outfielders like Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton.

Now that Jason Heyward has inked an eight-year, $184 million deal with the Chicago Cubs, the market has been set and the offseason game of outfield musical chairs can begin.

No team wants to be left without a seat—or rather, an outfielder—so the biggest names should start flying off the board in short order.

From predicting a new home for La Potencia to sending Gordon to one of the Kansas City Royals’ division rivals, here are four deals that will go down before New Year’s.

In addition to the free-agent forecasts, there’s also room on the list for a trade involving a vet who smashed 40 home runs in 2015

Begin Slideshow

Alex Gordon: Latest News, Rumors and Speculation Surrounding Free-Agent of

The Detroit Tigers are officially out of the Alex Gordon sweepstakes, per Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Continue for updates.

Gordon Could Land Huge Contract

Monday, Dec. 7

Nightengale reported the 31-year-old, four-time Gold Glove winner is out of talks with Tigers GM Al Avila. He could have been a good fit in Motown considering Detroit has no proven left fielder for the time being.

Gordon, who stands to make $100 million on his next contract, per Chris Cwik of Yahoo Sports, declined a player option to remain with the World Series champions Kansas City Royals.

Of course, he could still sign with the Royals, but for much more money after opting out.

Gordon slashed .271/.377/.432 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in 104 games during the 2015 season. However, he is known more as a team leader and exceptional outfielder than gaudy statstics.

While there are plenty of possible suitors, Nightengale reported the Royals feel like their rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals, are currently their biggest competitors for the three-time All-Star. 

Read more MLB news on BleacherReport.com

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