The KC Royals will look to fill the hole left by Alex Gordon. While the A’s left fielder could help, the team should be cautious.
It’s no secret that there will be a huge gap in the KC Royals outfield for 2021. While they can do their best to replace Alex Gordon, defensively, it’s hard to find someone up to his caliber. While there could be some decent outfielders to pick up during the offseason, the Royals will have to be willing to spend some money if they want to continue with gold glove defense.
So, what the Royals will do with the outfield, and left field in particular, remains a bit of a mystery. There are plenty of internal options to sort through. Franchy Cordero and Edward Olivares seem to be in line to get longer looks in 2021. Nick Heath is a likely option, and there are plenty of prospects waiting in the minors for their chance.
Still, the Royals may look to free agency to fill one of the outfield spots left open. If willing to pay, the Royals may be able to find a defensive substitute for Gordon that comes with an improved offense, but if looking for a cheaper singing, they may have to settle for one or the other.
One option that may not cost a lot is Robbie Grossman. Recently, a piece from David Schoenfield at ESPN predicted that the Royals will sign Grossman during the offseason to help fill in their outfield.
Grossman could be a cheaper option, but it may not be one the Royals want to explore. Because of the large number of outfielders the Royals have waiting for their shot, if a free agent outfielder is going to be brought in, it needs to be a player that checks every box and is an immediate improvement.
Grossman could provide decent defense. He had some down years in the past, but since going to Oakland and playing left field primarily, he seems to have improved his defensive numbers and was even a finalist for the AL left field Gold Glove in 2019, alongside Gordon who won.
Offensively, he isn’t going to hit as consistently as Whit Merrifield, but he does get on base at a decent rate. His career .241 batting average is not a strong argument, but his on-base percentage of .350 looks a little better.
He saw a big jump in slugging during this past season, going from .348 in 2019 to .482 in 2020, though the sample is too small to draw any real conclusion.
When laid out, the argument for Grossman could likely be made. If he can continue to have defensive success and get on base at a good rate, he could help to improve the Royals. He would be a decent arm in left to account for the loss of Gordon, but also could provide an offensive improvement from left field as well.
If the defense falters, though, and his hitting declines, the Royals will be right back where they started, turning to their young prospects for help.
While Grossman is a possible cheap candidate, it may be better for Kansas City to use 2021 to see what they have internally. 2020 did not provide the needed look for most players, and with the mass of outfield options, the money could be spent elsewhere to help around the field.
The Royals will have some decisions to make in the coming months and there is a good chance that Robbie Grossman could be on their radar for an outfield spot. If he is, the Royals should be cautious and decide if he is worth a logjam in the outfield.
ESPN predicts that the Royals will sign Robbie Grossman over the offseason. While it’s a possibility, the team should be careful about how they spend their money.