The Kansas City Royals paid the price for waiting on left-fielder Alex Gordon when free-agent pitcher Scott Kazmir agreed to a three-year, $48 million deal with the Dodgers on Wednesday.
The KC Royals were one of many suitors left behind as the Dodgers won the bidding by guaranteeing $16 million per season while also including an opt-out clause after the first year. Scott Kazmir obviously believed his market suffered by stiff competition from aces David Price, Zack Greinke, Jordan Zimmerman, and Johnny Cueto, and hopes to hit the market next season as one of the top rotation options available.
The Dodgers, on the other hand, stopped the bleeding after losing out on Zack Greinke, cancelling a trade for Aroldis Chapman after news of sexual assault allegations emerged, and nixing their free-agent deal with Hisashi Iwakuma due to medical concerns. Iwakuma returned to the Mariners on a three-year, $36 million contract.
Kazmir figures to give Los Angeles some of the rotation stability they lost when Greinke jilted them in favor of division rival Arizona, but still have ground to make up to get back to the talent level of last year’s squad that lost to the Cubs in the NLDS.
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals have now missed out on one of their favored alternatives to bringing back Alex Gordon. Yovani Gallardo, formerly of the Texas Rangers, and Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen still remain available.
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Aside from the bad news about Scott Kazmir, Alex Gordon did shoot down rumors that the KC Royals had fallen out of the running for his services by telling the Omaha World Herald on Monday that there was “no truth” to such assertions.
Kazmir’s signing could spur the Kansas City Royals into finding out if they can sign Alex Gordon, especially if either Chen or Gallardo also find a deal. KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore, however, seems committed to a waiting game with Gordon—probably because Moore needs to get bottom dollar to make him fit in his budget.
Wednesday’s deal continues the hot market for starting pitching, as opposed to the rather cold market for position players. Before Scott Kazmir’s deal with Los Angeles, teams had spent $1.2 billion on pitchers out of $1.5 billion total spending in free-agency this winter.
While I have my doubts that the Kansas City Royals will be able to land anything more than a rotation stop-gap, the continued slow market for position players might help Alex Gordon find himself still dressed in KC Royals blue come April.
Kansas City Royals fans can only hope.