Fans of the Kansas City Royals had to know this day was coming. Free agency will begin tugging at the heartstrings of your homegrown superstars. First on the market, Alex Gordon. The 31-year-old outfielder declined an option for 2016 worth close to $14 million, and will hit the open market. Gordon is coming off a third-consecutive All-Star season, and is regarded as one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball. The former third baseman has claimed four straight American League Gold Gloves for his work in left field. The only thing that will likely prevent Gordon from claiming a fifth fielding award is the fact that he played in only 104 games this year due to a leg injury.
At the plate, Gordon is a solid, but unspectacular hitter. He’s good for a .275/.340/.450 line with 20-25 home runs in the right park. Gordon’s best year at the plate came in 2011, when he put up a .303/.376/.502 line with 23 homers and 87 knocked in. While Kauffman Stadium has a reputation for being skewed towards the pitcher, Gordon actually has a career .447 slugging percentage at home, and a .423 number on the road.
Entering his age 32 season, Gordon will still find a very healthy interest on the free-agent market. He provides veteran leadership, postseason experience, and is an all-around solid ballplayer. Gordon is not a superstar outfielder in the Mike Trout or Bryce Harper mold, but the skills he provides are an essential part of building or adding to a playoff contender.
As a free agent, Gordon will be seeking at least a five-year deal. The price will likely exceed $90 million. Someone will make Alex Gordon an even wealthier man this winter, but who?