Last August, Alex Gordon told reporters he intended to exercise his $13.25MM player option for the 2016 season. Now he may decline the option, reports Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. When asked earlier today, Gordon said, “I don’t know the answer right now. I don’t know how this year is going to go, or how it’s going to look at the end of the year.”
Gordon is open to an extension with the Royals, although no negotiations are active. While some players set a deadline for contract talks, Gordon is willing to discuss the matter during the season. He indicated a desire to remain in Kansas City, saying “[It] almost feels like my hometown.”
The situation could become awkward for the Royals. McCullough compares Gordon to Hunter Pence who earned a five-year, $90MM contract with the Giants. The largest contract in Royals history is the $55MM paid to Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney. An extension to Gordon similar to that of Pence could affect their ability to retain Eric Hosmer or Yordano Ventura.
Club payroll is at $110MM with $66.8MM committed to 2016. Team options for Wade Davis and Alcides Escobar along with arbitration for Greg Holland, Lorenzo Cain, Danny Duffy, and Mike Moustakas could push that figure close to $100MM. One rival official suggested the club is in a catch-22. If Gordon has a strong season, he could price his way out of the market. If he struggles, then they’re stuck with the player option.
In his recent power rankings for the 2016 offseason, MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes ranked Gordon as the seventh best potential free agent. Pointing to Shin-Soo Choo, Dierkes believes Gordon is young enough to merit a nine-figure deal. He figures a $110MM guarantee might be enough to keep him in Kansas City.