Even the staunchest Alex Gordon supporters out there would find it hard to argue his place is not earned among the most disappointing Kansas City Royals of 2017. As the previous slide teased, not only does Gordon own the lowest OPS (.606) of any qualified hitter, but also the veteran outfielder is the highest-paid player on the team (four-year, $72 million deal).
That’s a tailor-made definition for most disappointing player. Gordon struggled in 2016, so the expectations weren’t sky-high coming into 2017. However, most people kept their fingers crossed for a bounce-back season.
Instead, he’s fallen further off the cliff.
In 2016, Gordon staggered to a .220/.312/.380 triple-slash line with a .695 OPS. One year later, he’s currently at .210/.292/.314 with the aforementioned .606 OPS. And that is with Gordon playing extremely well in September. In his 19 games this month, the 33-year-old is batting .288 and getting on base one out of every three at-bats. His OPS—which was a minuscule .418 in August—was .842 this month, entering Thursday’s game.
But it’s not nearly enough to wipe out five utterly horrendous months. He has just eight home runs on the season, although one did set a record.
It would not be a stretch to argue Yost’s unwillingness to bench Gordon early in the season might have cost this team a playoff spot. The counter-argument would be there was no natural replacement for Gordon in left field until Melky Cabrera arrived. Even when that happened, Yost stuck with Gordon in left. A hot September does not vindicate coach nor player.