KC Royals: Candidates to Replace Alex Gordon

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Jun 24, 2015; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Nationals outfielder Denard Span (2) catches a fly ball during the game against the Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Denard Span

Denard Span is probably my favorite alternative if the Kansas City Royals can’t re-sign Alex Gordon.

The soon-to-be 32-year-old Span patrolled center-field for the Minnesota Twins for five years, before moving on to Washington.  Span doesn’t have great power, hitting only 55 home runs in his career, but he does bring speed, range, and a solid bat to the table.

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The lefty hitting Denard Span has slashed .287/.352/.395 over his career. He certainly fits the KC Royals model of a guy that can keep the line moving with a .352 career OBP and an 11.4% strikeout rate.

Moreover, Span is still a speed threat. He stole 11 bases in 2015 in only 61 games before season-ending hip surgery for a torn-labrum (Alex Gordon recovered from the same surgery in 2009). He swiped 31 in 2014, and  152 in his eight-year career.

Defensively, Denard Span has been a rangy center fielder, with UZR ratings of 15.7 in 2011 and 9.9 as recently as 2013. However, he’s fallen into negative numbers since 2014. Yet, in Kansas City he would likely play in left which would make him look better. Unfortunately, Span lacks the strong arm that KC Royals fans have become accustomed to seeing from their outfielders, though he did post seven outfield assists in 2014 and 39 in his career.

The best part about Span is likely to be his price. Along with the hip surgery that ended his season, Span began the year on the disabled list after sports hernia surgery in December. As a free-agent coming off multiple injuries in his early 30’s, Span might agree to a one-year, “prove it” deal  to rebuild his free-agent value. Denard Span would be a low-risk stop-gap until outfielders like Bubba Starling, Jorge Bonifacio, Brett Eibner, and Jose Martinez can establish themselves.

Next: Charlie Blackmon