According to Bob Dutton, the Royals and Alex Gordon appear close to an agreement for a one year deal for 2012 that would avoid an arbitration hearing scheduled for February 16. The Royals suggested a $4.15 million salary for the season while the Gordon camp has set a figure of $5.15 million.
Should the deal become complete, the two sides can continue to negotiate a contract extension.
Reports are that the Royals have tossed out an offer of four years at $30 million. Nate Bukaty tweeted that he heard Gordon and agent Casey Close were asking for six years at $80 million.
This has set off a discussion through the afternoon about what is fair for Gordon. As a former second overall pick and one of the top players in the majors last year, the hope is that he’s finally realizing his potential after three disappointing seasons and one above average year. The Royals offer might be a little low, but the Gordon side is asking a lot based on one season.
Gordon turns 28 years old this week and a six year deal would cover his “prime” years, but runs the risk of committing to a player who might not approach his 2011 season again.
Some fans on Twitter are convinced he could get upwards of $12 million a year. Rany Jazayerli responded to Bukaty with his idea that a four year $38-42 million deal would be fair and left the door open for an option season. Others see that as a comfortable range, as well.
Maybe Gordon can convince the Royals that he’s worth it. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Both sides have the luxury of time, as Gordon isn’t a free agent until after 2013, so the sense of urgency is lessened and the Royals can always make Gordon “prove it” on the field. Gordon can agree to a deal now that can reward him for his great 2011 and guarantee a good check in the future, but perhaps at the expense of a larger deal if he approaches the same performance this year. If he flops again or gets hurt, he might cost himself money. The Royals are in the same boat. If Gordon repeats and is only on a one year deal, he’ll probably get his $12-13 million a year.
Both sides probably benefit most by meeting somewhere in the middle. The Royals can lock up a recognizable, homegrown star and Gordon can cash in on his 2011 season. Wrapping up a deal now also takes the pressure off of Gordon, and many think that a shift to the outfield and the impending arrival of other prospects allowed him to relax. If he doesn’t have to think about an extension all year, he can just play.
Billy Butler‘s extension was for four years at a guaranteed $30 million in January 2011 (which included a $2 million signing bonus). He also has an option for a $12.5 million salary in 2015 (or a $1 million buyout), giving the deal a maximum value of five years and $43.5 million if he meets incentives that would tack on $2 million in the option year. Dutton’s report of a four year $30 million offer doesn’t mention a signing bonus or any option years, but Dayton Moore has added options to Butler’s extension as well as Joakim Soria‘s and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Gordon have a couple of option years at the end of a prospective deal.