At this point, the outfielder market is still uncertain with none of the top corner outfield targets signed (Jason Heyward, Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, and Yoenis Cespedes). I suppose Ben Zobrist could be included in that group, but Zobrist highest value comes from teams that intend to play his bat at second base.
Perhaps the outfield market might be suppressed after the bonanza that teams have spent on starting pitching the last few days: David Price $217 million, Zack Greinke $206 million, Jordan Zimmerman $110 million, Jeff Samardzija $90 million. Yet, I don’t see that happening. The game is flush with money and teams are spending it, as indicated by the Diamondbacks signing Greinke to a mega-deal after collecting profit sharing from MLB the last few years.
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Over on Fangraphs.com, the crowd prediction for Alex Gordon came in at five-years, $90 million, which would appear to be not such a bad deal in this market. However, the crowd predictions have proved to be somewhat low this winter, given that they projected Price at $197 million, Greinke at $156 million, and Samardzija at $64 million. The only significant contract that the crowd projections went over the actual price was their $126 million projection for Zimmerman.
The crowd significantly undervalued Joakim Soria at two-years, $14 million when he got three-years, and $25 million from the KC Royals on Monday.
Honestly, I would be very HAPPY to get Alex Gordon at five-years, $90 million the way the market is shaping up. Ben Zobrist seems to now be beyond the Kansas City Royals reach, with him reportedly narrowing his choices to the San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, and Washington Nationals. It’s pretty clear that Zobrist is going to zoom past the three-year, $42 million deal the crowd projected for him.
If the KC Royals do sign Gordon to a five-year deal, that would effectively make him a Royal for Life. Alex Gordon only needs two more years of service time with Kansas City to become a five and ten man (with the same team), which means Gordon could not be traded without his permission according to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.
At this point, rumors indicate that the Tigers are out on both Alex Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes. And, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the Kansas City Royals front office see cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals as the biggest threat to sign Gordon.
If the Kansas City Royals can sign Gordon to a deal close to his crowd projection, I think they should pull the trigger. The team could use another franchise icon to take the place of George Brett and Frank White.