KC Royals left fielder Alex Gordon enjoyed a strong week. After opening the first 11 games of the season with a miserable .231/.318/.282 for an OPS of .600, Gordon has smashed his first two home runs of the season along with slashing .277/.435/.611 and scoring six runs.
While I doubt many Kansas City Royals fans were really worried about Gordon’s slow start, it’s nice seeing him get in a groove after signing a four-year, $72 million deal last winter. Not only has Gordon’s bat come alive, he’s been flashing his trademark best-in-baseball defense this past week with plays like this:
First, Detroit shortstop Jose Iglesias compounded the error of running on Alex Gordon’s arm by making the third out of the third inning at third base:
Gordon followed that throw by robbing second baseman Justin Upton of at least a double, and probably a triple in the fourth inning of the same game:
At age 32, Alex Gordon looks very much like vintage Alex Gordon, giving assurances that at least one out of four contract years won’t be an albatross.
Overall, KC Royals general manager Dayton Moore made a good gamble on Alex Gordon in that he’s fastidious about his diet and conditioning. If any early-thirties player is likely to maintain his skill set over the next four years, a guy like Gordon, who both takes his conditioning seriously and possesses an all-around game, is a good bet to age well.
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Of course, this deal will be a success as long as Gordon contributes to a contender the next two seasons. Even if Gordon collapses in the last two years of the deal, the future is now for the Kansas City Royals. When Moore decided to blow up the playroll to over $130 million in order to keep the band together, he pretty much chose to go for broke chasing the hope of creating a dynasty.
Even if Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Wade Davis, Alcides Escobar, Danny Duffy, Edinson Volquez, and Jarrod Dyson leave en masse after the 2017 season, Moore will still have seized the chance of building an all-time great team.
Really, KC Royals fans couldn’t ask for more.
As for Alex Gordon’s place in franchise history, he’s probably already assured of a spot in the Kansas City Royals Hall-of-Fame and a legacy similar to second baseman Frank White: the local star who became a champion and played his entire career with the home team.
For Gordon to achieve more than that—to get a shot at the MLB Hall-of-Fame—Gordon will at the very least need four more prime seasons along with a couple of respectable add-on years to build up his stat line. That will put him close to 60 WAR for his career, which gets him in the conversation. He’ll probably also need to play on another World Series winner, and gain the extra cachet from being the clubhouse leader of a KC Royals dynasty, to earn his plaque in Cooperstown.