Kansas City Royals and Alex Gordon Need to Focus on This Year
By David Hill
It is easy to state that Alex Gordon is the current face of the Kansas City Royals. In many ways, Gordon personifies the Royals ascent to contender status, as he was the once highly touted prospect who appeared on the verge of flaming out. Instead, a demotion to the minors and a change of position later, Gordon has become arguably the best left fielder in baseball.
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As Gordon has captured the last four Gold Glove awards for left, and has produced a .281/.356/.452 batting line with 81 home runs and 50 stolen bases in the last four and a quarter seasons, it is easy to understand why he would be a hotly pursued player in free agency. The question with Gordon as it comes to free agency is when he will enter the market. Currently, he holds a player option for next season at $12.5 Million, a thorough bargain for a player of his caliber.
Naturally, it is expected that Gordon will decline that option. As Jon Heyman stated in his weekly look around baseball, Gordon will not pick up that option unless he is “into charity.” Well, we all can hope that Gordon someone feels that signing on at that salary qualifies him for a 501(c)(3) tax deduction.
The truth of the matter is, no matter how much we may wish otherwise, Heyman is likely correct in that Gordon will not pick up his option with the Kansas City Royals. Likewise, the fact remains that this should not even enter the conversation at this point in time. Yes, the Royals will need to figure out if they can keep Gordon, but they have more to focus on than that contract situation.
Right now, the Royals are in the midst of a three team fight for the American League Central. Even though it is just over a quarter of the way through the season, the Royals have the look of a playoff contender, and should be focused on finding a way to return to the World Series. Unless the Royals are discussing an extension with Gordon’s representatives, this is not the time to worry about such matters.
We have all seen how ongoing contract discussions can enter a player’s head, especially as they enter that final season. Just look at how Billy Butler struggled last season with the question mark surrounding his status for the 2015 season following him around. As Gordon may be the most important piece of the Kansas City Royals puzzle, anything that could detract from his focus on the field could prove to be devastating.
Obviously, Alex Gordon is a different player than Billy Butler. While Butler struggled for most of the season under the weight of his contractual limbo, Gordon has been that same player we have come to expect. Even if the possibility of impending free agency is in the back of his mind, it has not affected Gordon on the field.
Let Alex Gordon continue to focus on the task at hand, getting the Kansas City Royals back to the postseason. Hopefully, the contract can be worked out in the background without any possible distractions.