The Kansas City Royals have agreed to terms with their homegrown All-Star Alex Gordon, as the left fielder will re-sign with the team on a four-year, $72 million deal.
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports first reported that the two sides were interested in a reunion, with Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com reporting that the two sides reached an agreement and Jon Heyman adding the contract’s value.
According to sources, Alex Gordon and the #Royals have agreed to a mult-year deal, pending physical. Announcement likely today
— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) January 6, 2016
Gordon’s contract will not have an opt-out, as he’s happy to return home to Kansas City, per Heyman. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal also adds Gordon’s salary in the first year will be the lowest, so the team has the financial flexibility to sign more players. The deal also includes deferred payments.
There were reports last week that the Royals had “no chance” to re-sign Gordon as things were, something Gordon denied when speaking to the Omaha World-Herald.
“The Royals are still in the mix, I know what’s going on behind the scenes, and I’m dealing with it the best I can. “I thought it would have been done by now, but I’m a pretty laid-back guy, so I’m not letting it stress me out.”
The soon-to-be 32-year-old Gordon was considered one of the top outfielders on the free-agent market this winter. However, a market for the four-time Gold Glove award winner was slow to develop, as teams have been reluctant to give megadeals to hitters this offseason.
With Gordon off the board, sluggers such as Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, and Chris Davis remain unsigned.
Last season, Gordon was an integral part of the Royals’ journey to the 2015 World Series Championship. Despite missing time during the regular season with a left groin strain, Gordon finished 2015 a.271 hitter with 13 HR and 48 RBI in 104 games. But his streak of four consecutive Gold Gloves for his defensive prowess was snapped.
In the 2015 Postseason, Gordon hit a combined.240 with two HR and six RBI in 16 games between the ALDS, ALCS, and World Series.
Originally drafted as a third baseman in 2005 as the Royals’ second overall pick, Gordon was labeled as a future franchise cornerstone, much like Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett. Things didn’t start smoothly for Gordon, as he struggled during his first four seasons as a Major League player.
A myriad of injuries prevented Gordon from reaching the potential many believed he had, as he averaged a mere 11 HR and 40 RBI from 2007-2010. He also struggled defensively at third base, leading the league in errors (16) and fielding percentage (.955) in 2008.
For his career as a third baseman, Gordon owns negative stats in both Defensive Runs Saved (-9) and UZR/150 (-1.9), per FanGraphs.
In 2011, Gordon made the full-time switch to left field in an attempt to salvage his career. It proved to be a wise move, as he’s been a.281 hitter in that five-year span, averaging nearly 18 HR and 72 RBI.
The switch to left field has brought Gordon’s reputation into the stratosphere. According to FanGraphs, Gordon’s Defensive Runs Saved (+97) and UZR/150 (+12.1) are staggering totals that make him arguably the top defender at any position in the game.
With the contract expected to be officially announced today, Gordon will become the highest paid player in Royals history, eclipsing the same five-year, $55 million guarantees that first baseman Mike Sweeney (2002) and pitcher Gil Meche (2006) received, per MLB Trade Rumors.
[Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images]