Back in August, Alex Gordon had indicated that he would pick up his player option for the 2016 season. At a mere $13.25 Million, that option would truly be a bargain for the Royals, as Gordon is expected to earn a contract similar to the five year, $90 Million contract signed by Hunter Pence. Gordon appeared to be destined to remain with the Royals for two more seasons at least, giving Dayton Moore time to figure out an extension.
Or, at least that was how things seemed in August. Now, as Spring Training is about to begin, and the Royals are heading into camp with an incredible degree of optimism, Gordon has backed off his statement. While Gordon has stated that he wants to remain with the Royals, he is not offering any guarantees either.
"“That’s a question that honestly doesn’t need to be answered right now,” Gordon said. “Because I don’t know the answer right now. I don’t know how this year is going to go, or how it’s going to look at the end of the year. Honestly, I don’t know.”"
It certainly makes sense that Alex Gordon would want to test the market. Considering that the largest contract that the Royals have given out was the five year, $55 Million deal for Gil Meche, he would likely make a lot more money playing elsewhere than he would in Kansas City. A solid piece in the lineup, and easily the best defensive left fielder in the game, Gordon would have plenty of suitors.
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If Gordon was to leave, it may be the most painful departure among those players who left the Royals for better financial situations elsewhere. Gordon essentially personifies the current Royals, the one time top prospect who appeared as though he was going to flame out before changing positions and resurrecting his career. Having worked his way to being the Royals true star, he encapsulates everything about how the Royals became that little team that could over the past two years.
While Alex Gordon would be a nice piece on another team, he would not have the same value elsewhere that he does in Kansas City. His consistent Gold Glove defense in left is a major part of the Royals run prevention strategy. Likewise, Gordon is a middle of the order bat with the Royals, and a key part of their offense. Elsewhere, Gordon may not be considered the same type of player.
Gordon means far more to the Royals than he would receive financially in Kansas City. Even though he could receive the largest extension offer in Royals history, it may not be enough, especially with the other players coming up for arbitration or have options to be picked up, like Wade Davis, Danny Duffy and Greg Holland. The Royals may find themselves having to make a choice between keeping their excellent pitching staff together or keeping Gordon.
Hopefully, Alex Gordon will pick up his player option or will take a hometown discount on an extension. Otherwise, Gordon may just be the next player to leave for a greener checking balance.