With the KC Royals re-signing Alex Gordon to a four year, $72 million contract on Wednesday, general manager Dayton Moore is highly unlikely to sign any free-agent starter that would require the team to surrender the 24th pick of the draft.
For all intents and purposes, expect Gordon’s return to put an end to the Kansas City Royals interest in free-agent starters Wei-Yin Chen and Yovani Gallardo. Had Gordon left Kansas City, they would have received a “sandwich” pick between the first and second round that would not have been much behind their no. 24 pick in the 2016 June draft. By retaining Alex Gordon, losing their first round draft pick becomes much more costly.
I don’t buy it for a second.
Note Heyman tweeted “the Royals are expected to make a strong push now that gordon is gone”. That tweet sounds like something Kennedy’s agent told Heyman in hopes to spur Kennedy’s market.
While I’m sure that the KC Royals did express interest in Kennedy BEFORE they brought back Gordon, notice that Heyman did not say that the team has expressed interest AFTER re-signing Alex Gordon.
Reading between the lines, and looking at Moore’s long-term goals for the franchise, makes me dismiss this report as agent speak similar to Heyman’s “Royals have no chance to re-sign Gordon” report.
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Dayton Moore has said many times that his goal was to make the KC Royals “consistently competitive”. “The Process” that became a joke among fans and pundits before 2014 referred to the franchise’s emphasis on player development. This organizational philosophy comes straight from the Atlanta Braves, where Moore spent 11 seasons in player development while the team won a record 14 straight division titles.
A guy like Moore, who thinks that consistent success rests on developing prospects, isn’t going to cut his talent pipeline when viable rotation targets that will not require the KC Royals to give up their first round pick, like Cliff Lee, Mat Latos, and Tim Lincecum, are still available.
It would be completely out of character for a player development guy like Dayton Moore to sign a player that would cost him his first round draft pick, even with a team that has an open championship window the next two seasons.
I’ve already stated that my favorite “bargain” rotation candidate for the KC Royals is Cliff Lee. My second choice is Tim Lincecum, presuming his coming workout for scouts and medical reports go well, because he looked like a guy that had figured out how to win without overwhelming heat early last season. Remember, Lincecum threw both of his no-hitters after losing his dominant fastball.
The biggest reason the Royals should stay away from Gallardo, Chen, and Kennedy is that there are too many guys with upside that don’t carry draft pick compensation. If such an acquisition doesn’t work out, Moore can always make another deadline deal.