Earlier this week, the Royals optioned former first-round pick Alex Gordon to the minors. The second overall pick in 2005, Gordon was named Baseball America's #2 prospect in all of baseball prior to the 2007 season. However, since hitting .260/.351/.432 in 2008, the 26-year-old has struggled to stay healthy and has posted a slash line of just .226/.327/.369 in 227 plate appearances for the Royals, leading to his demotion.
For Joe Posnanski, the move is a signal that the club has given up on Gordon, writing that "when you send him to the minor leagues after only 12 games, it doesn’t matter what you say. You are giving up." ESPN.com's Rob Neyer agrees, pointing out that many people in Kansas City's front office weren't around when Gordon was drafted, reducing their investment in him. Neyer says that if he were running the Royals, he'd play Gordon at third base, barring injury, until season's end, but the organization has other plans -- they intend to give Gordon playing time at left field and first base in Triple-A Omaha. As Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star notes, Gordon likely would've been displaced at third base eventually by prospect Mike Moustakas, who is hitting .417/.491/.917 in Double-A so far this season.
So where does this leave Gordon? Posnanski is pessimistic about the left-handed hitter's future in Kansas City, predicting that Gordon could end up blossoming with another team who appreciates his strengths. It's unclear if the Royals would consider moving him at this point though, or if there'd even be much of a market for him. Mellinger spoke to one rival scout who opines: "Nobody I know is excited about [Gordon] or thinks he’s above getting sent down."
Gordon is under team control until after the 2013 season, so for now the Royals figure to give him a chance to play every day and gain some confidence in the minors. Eventually, his performance or an injury on the 25-man roster will earn him another shot in the bigs. Posnanski, however, belives that "without expectation and without a position," it won't work.