Kansas City Royals General Manager told Alex Gordon that he would like to Gold Glove left fielder to return next season but is that the right call?
The Kansas City Royals have just one game remaining in the 2019 season and new owner John Sherman will need to get to work right away on fixing the roster. First, he’ll have to hire a new manager as Ned Yost announced his retirement last week after spending 10 seasons with the club. Among the roster considerations that need to be accounted for is left-fielder Alex Gordon.
Gordon will be 36 years old when the 2020 season starts and he has a steep $20 million mutual option. However, he’s been with the Royals organization since he was drafted 2nd overall in the 2005 MLB Draft and has stated that he is 60/40 on coming back next year. General Manager Dayton Moore informed Gordon that he would like his gold-glove outfielder to return for another season next year.
There are a couple of issues that immediately come to mind. The Royals would be foolish to pick up his option but I could certainly understand a situation in which he and the team were able to agree to a far less one-year deal to come back next season. Which brings up the next question. Does it even make sense to bring Gordon back next year given the direction this franchise is headed?
Ned Yost specifically stated that he waited to retire until he felt that the Royals were through the worst of the rebuild. Would bringing Gordon back prolong the rebuild and stunt other player’s development who need regular playing time? The Royals have a lot of versatile players but they need to consider giving guys like Nicky Lopez, Brett Phillips, and Bubba Starling regular playing time to make a final determination of whether they should be part of the future.
Lopez, 24, will be starting the Whit Merrifield diet and exercise program as soon as the season ends. He’s performed well in both of Adalberto Mondesi‘s absence and regular playing time next year would likely allow him to take the next step, a similar step that Merrifield took in his second season.
With an already crowded infield, the Royals will have to get creative in getting regular at-bats for everyone, which brings us back to the original point, if 36-year old Alex Gordon being a regular in this lineup makes sense. Don’t get me wrong, Alex Gordon deserves a statue outside of Kauffman Stadium, but the organization needs to commit going forward and I am not so sure that keeping Gordon around for another season does anything but keep the nostalgia alive and well.