By Chad Rader
For the past two years, Royals fans have clamored for Kansas City to sign one of its World Series heroes, or else Kansas City will have failed in the offseason.
Last year, it was Billy Butler. Then around July, there weren’t any more cries for Billy Butler to be in the Royals lineup anymore when his replacement, Kendrys Morales, was the anchor of the offense.
Now this offseason, its Alex Gordon who Kansas City must sign for the offseason to be a success. And for the second straight offseason, I’m telling Royals fans to forget the memories and look ahead.
The latest going rate for Gordon is five years, $85-$105 million. Which puts Gordon still collecting $17 million when he’s 37 years old. Do you think the Royals will get ANYWHERE close to $17 million in value when Gordon is 37? Or 36? Or even $7 million in value?
Look at it objectively, not with your heart. Just like when you took the memories of Butler cranking the wheel during the World Series and cataloged them. But then enjoyed Kendrys Morales belting in over 100 RBI - which Billy Butler accomplished just once. Fans already posted that we are forgetting Game One of the World Series and Gordon's heroics in the bottom of the ninth. Hey, that’s great, but its in the books. Kansas City has a ring. Thank you Alex, we’ll see you at the reunion in 10 years.
To strap a small-market organization with a player making $17 million for each of the next five years, they better:
a) Win a Cy Young or be a perennial Cy Young contender
b) Be a consistent 25/25 player with strong defense
c) Hit 30 HRs with 100 RBI every year
Gordon is none of the above. Instead:
A) He’s suffered injuries in the past two years
B) Is getting older
C) Has yet to hit 25 HRs or drive in 90 RBI
This is a hitter who batted eight in the postseason. I can recall the days when we'd disclaim a Royals cleanup batter as saying "Jeff King would bat 7th on a World Series team". Well, the Royals were a championship team, and Gordon batted eighth. Should the Royals shell out $15M+ for a No. 8 batter?
The Royals timeline for spending and winning is the next 1-2 years. Dayton Moore needs to continue to work financially around the core of Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Yordano Ventura, with Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez along the way too. A one-year reclamation project in left field for $7-8 million, and another in right field is better than shoving all-in on Gordon. Or trade for Carlos Gonzalez, who will rake $17-$20M for two more years, during the Royals time of contention, but not for FIVE years.
Then in 3-4 years, say 2018 or 2019, be prepared for Kansas City to reboot and endure a rebuild mode with perhaps just 2, maybe 4 of the aforementioned core around. At that point, Gordon at $17 million will be an albatross killing the organization and untradeable.
Now if the market dries up and if Kansas City can snag Gordon at say four years, $55 million ($13.75M per year) with a option for the fifth (which KC will decline, but give Gordon a free $2-3M), then sure. Otherwise, get into five years – ugh - and getting into another Mike Sweeney contract.
And if a team signs Gordon, Kansas City gets a Type A draft pick. The Royals will land a player for this year eventually AND garner another chip for the future too.
Yes, its tough to swallow a homegrown player, a hometown hero, not returning to Kansas City. And at what point are Royals fans going to just trust Dayton Moore's moves? And also realize its baseball, and players will come and go - even your favorite ones. And also realize - its Alex Gordon's choice as well.
So Royals fans – put all your Alex Gordon memories down in your Kansas City scrapbook, continue to enjoy the greatest era in Royals history – and turn the page.
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