Alex Gordon Rumors

Royals Avoid Arbitration With Alex Gordon

The Royals and Alex Gordon have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year contract, the team announced. Bob Dutton of The Kansas City Star reports that the deal is worth $4.775MM while Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com says he can earn another $25K in bonuses (Twitter links). Gordon is represented by Casey Close.

As our Arbitration Tracker shows, Gordon filed for $5.45MM while the team countered with $4.15MM, so they settled just below the midpoint in terms of guaranteed money. The two sides are said to be exploring a long-term contract, but for now they've only addressed the upcoming season. Gordon can become a free agent after 2013. All of Kansas City's arbitration-eligible players are now under contract for 2012.

Gordon, who will turn 28 tomorrow, enjoyed a long-awaited breakout season in 2011, hitting .303/.376/.502 with 23 homers and 17 steals. He earned his first All-Star selection and drew some MVP votes as well, which is what the Royals hope he'll do on an annual basis after making him the second overall pick in the 2005 draft.


Comparing Cruz, Jones, Gordon In Arbitration

Arbitration eligible outfielders Nelson Cruz, Adam Jones, and Alex Gordon all remain unsigned.  As outfielders with at least four years of big league service and less than five, their cases are tied together.  Let's take a closer look.

Cruz and Jones submitted near-identical salaries of $7.5MM and $7.4MM, respectively.  The Orioles value Jones less than the Rangers value Cruz, submitting a figure $500K below Cruz's $5.5MM.  It's no coincidence MLB scheduled the players' arbitration hearings for the same day, as that way a win by one can't benefit another.  Should one of the two reach an agreement soon, the salary figure might be kept under wraps until the other's is determined.  Gordon's hearing is scheduled one day earlier, but they're reportedly close to an agreement.  The Cruz-Jones argument can be tailored either way — Cruz has more career power, but Jones is more durable and plays a premium position.

Gordon is valued below Cruz and Jones by all parties, as he submitted $5.45MM and the Royals $4.15MM.  All things considered Gordon had the best platform year, topping Cruz and Jones easily in batting average, on-base percentage, runs, and stolen bases while posting similar home run and RBI totals.  He's further boosted by a Gold Glove, so one separator here has to be the players' career numbers and related previous year earnings.  Though Gordon wins in career OBP, his home run and RBI totals lag well behind the other two players.

Looking at past precedent, how strong are the cases of Cruz, Jones, and Gordon?

  • Cruz wants a $3.85MM raise, while the Rangers are trying for the same $1.85MM one Carlos Quentin received after the 2010 season.  Using Quentin's numbers through 2010, Cruz has better career numbers and a similar platform year.  Ryan Ludwick and Josh Willingham received $1.75MM and $1.65MM raises in similar situations, though Cruz trumps all in career power numbers.  However, Cruz does not have an advantage over where Luke Scott was after 2010, and Scott received a $2.35MM bump.  Scott seems to push the argument in the Rangers' favor, except that Scott spent much of 2010 at designated hitter.  Another point in Cruz's favor, MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith mentioned to me, is his fantastic postseason production.
  • Jones wants a $4.15MM increase.  He's short on career home runs compared to his arbitration peers, so maybe his argument will be based on his ability to play center field regularly and a better platform year than B.J. Upton's 2010.
  • Gordon seeks a $4.05MM raise.  Given his batting average, run total, and Gold Glove award, he had the best platform year of his peers.  He also has the worst career power numbers, plus the Royals filed a million bucks higher than the Rangers and Orioles did for their guys.
  • We always hear that arbitration hearings are a crapshoot, and perhaps none of these players will end up going to one.  However, the arguments seem to favor the teams in the cases of Cruz, Jones, and Gordon, who are seeking to top Hunter Pence's $3.5MM raise despite inferior numbers.  Additionally, Matt Swartz's arbitration projections came in below the midpoint for all three players.

Royals, Gordon Nearing One-Year Deal

The Royals appear to be nearing a one-year deal with arbitration eligible outfielder Alex Gordon, Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports. The sides have a hearing scheduled for February 16th and they'll present their respective cases to a panel of arbitrators if they don't reach an agreement first.

An agreement could occur before the end of the week, Dutton writes. GM Dayton Moore has never gone to a hearing with a player since becoming Kansas City's GM. Gordon and agent Casey Close filed for $5.45MM, while the Royals offered $4.15MM, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows. The sides are expected to resume extension talks once they agree on a 2012 salary.



AL Central Notes: Eldred, Gordon, Carmona

It was on this day in 1993 that Tigers legend Charlie Gehringer passed away at the age of 89.  Gehringer spent his entire 19-year career in Detroit, finishing with a .320/.404/.480 career line, the 1937 AL MVP Award, a 1935 World Series championship and induction into the Baseball Hall Of Fame.  Gehringer is still among the Tigers' franchise leaders in virtually every offensive category and is widely regarded as one of the game's greatest second basemen.

Some items from Detroit and elsewhere in the AL Central…

  • The Tigers signed first baseman Brad Eldred to a minor league contract that doesn't include an invitation to the team's Major League Spring Training camp.  Eldred, 31, has an .870 OPS and 227 homers over 10 minor league seasons but has seen just 282 plate appearances in the bigs, his most recent cup of coffee coming with the Rockies in 2010.  Eldred hit .278/.351/.536 for the Giants' Triple-A affiliate last season.
  • The Royals shouldn't wait to sign Alex Gordon to an extension, argues Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.  Mellinger thinks Michael Cuddyer's three-year, $31.5MM pact with the Rockies could be "the general framework" for a new Gordon deal, and both Gordon and Cuddyer are represented by agent Casey Close.  Mellinger thinks a four-year, $35MM contract would fair to both sides; that's about $5MM higher than what MLBTR's Tim Dierkes guessed a Gordon extension would look like last August.
  • Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com thinks the Indians should release Roberto Hernandez Heredia (a.k.a. Fausto Carmona) and use the saved salary on an available pitcher like Roy Oswalt, Edwin Jackson or Livan Hernandez.
  • Melissa Segura of Sports Illustrated looks at how teams pay much larger median bonuses to 16-year-old Latin American prospects, when a much smaller percentage of those young prospects actually reach the majors.  While players like Carmona have knowingly committed age and identity fraud, Segura argues that "by placing such high premiums on 16-year-olds, teams are fooling themselves."

Quick Hits: Lincecum, Red Sox, Gordon, Francis

Friday night links..

  • The Giants and the agent for Tim Lincecum have made significant progress since exchanging arbitration figures and both sides are confident that a resolution can be reached before a hearing would be scheduled, writes Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News.
  • The Reds could look to land an infielder via trade, writes MLB.com's Mark Sheldon.
  • It appears that talks between the Rockies and Red Sox regarding Marco Scutaro are dormant, but Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes that Boston's possible motivation for a move involving Scutaro would be to free up payroll.  The club has reportedly expressed interest in White Sox starter Gavin Floyd and free agent outfielder Cody Ross, but neither move could be made unless a trade was made to offer budgetary relief according to a source.
  • The Royals and Alex Gordon aren't particularly close on a deal but talks remain cordial and both sides want to get something done, tweets Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
  • Left-hander Jeff Francis is starting to attract more interest from teams in the market for a starting pitcher including the Mariners, Reds, Blue Jays, and Mets, according to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (Twitter links)
  • Jesus Montero has dealt with his visa issue and is scheduled to travel from Florida to Seattle today for his Mariners physical, tweets Ken Davidoff of Newsday.
  • Braves GM Frank Wren doesn't believe that his club has a major personnel need, writes Mark Bradley of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  Wren also believes that this year's bullpen figures to be even deeper that last year's.
  • Joe Capozzi of The Palm Beach Post (via Twitter) is told that the Marlins have no interest in bringing Ivan Rodriguez back.

Arbitration Filing Numbers

Many players avoided arbitration today, but dozens of others exchanged figures with their teams in anticipation of hearings. Most cases won't go to arbitration hearings, but teams such as the Rays, Nationals, Marlins, White Sox, Blue Jays and Braves have stuck to 'file and trial' policies in the past. 

MLBTR's arbitration tracker will keep you up to date on every one of the filing numbers from around the game, but here are the highlights — players who filed for $4MM or more. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com had most of the info with MLBTR and others also contributing:


Royals Exploring Long-Term Extension For Gordon

Following a break-out campaign that earned Alex Gordon MVP votes, the Royals would like to lock up the 27-year-old for the long term. The Royals have discussed a contract extension for Gordon, and GM Dayton Moore says the club will work "very hard" to keep him in Kansas City, according to MLB.com's Dick Kaegel.

"I don't think either side feels any pressure," said Moore. "We have him under control for two more years. There's certainly a willingness to move forward together and get something done."

Gordon, who hit .303/.376/.502 in 2011, will be eligible for arbitration this year and next. MLBTR projects an approximate salary of $4.4MM for the former second overall pick.


Alex Gordon, Royals Plan To Discuss Extension

It took a few years longer than expected, but Alex Gordon has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the Royals' lineup.  Interest is mutual on a possible extension, reports Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.

Asked about staying in Kansas City, Gordon replied with a Napoleon Dynamite-esque, "Heck, yeah."  Gordon's agent Casey Close has spoken to Royals GM Dayton Moore, and the two agreed to discuss an extension in the offseason.

Gordon

Gordon, 27, is hitting .301/.374/.484 in 527 plate appearances this year, his first full season as a left fielder.  Dutton writes in praise of Gordon's outfield defense, and UZR concurs.  Back when the Royals drafted Gordon second overall in 2005, he played third base.

Gordon, who is represented by Casey Close of Excel Sports Management, is earning $1.4MM this year.  His disappointing 2010 season resulted in just a $250K raise, but Gordon's salary will rise by several million for 2012.  Barring an extension, he'll be arbitration eligible one more time in 2013 before hitting free agency.

In my opinion, a fair price for Gordon's final two arbitration years would be $9MM total, and then free agent years could be bought out in the $9-11MM range.  I could see a four-year deal for under $30MM, perhaps with a club option in the mix.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Close Continues To Represent 12 Former CAA Clients

Derek Jeter, Ryan Howard and Derrek Lee aren’t the only former CAA clients agent Casey Close will continue to represent now that he’s at Excel Sports Management. Close told MLBTR that he still represents Tyler Clippard, Michael Cuddyer, Alex Gordon, Jerry Hairston Jr., Scott Hairston, Casey Kotchman, Ben Sheets, Marcus Thames and Jamey Wright

Close left CAA Sports in February and recently joined the New York-based agency Excel Sports Management. For the latest on all agencies and players, check out MLBTR’s Agency Database.

 


Royals Notes: Escobar, Cabrera, Ka’aihue

Royals GM Dayton Moore tells ESPN.com's Buster Olney that Alcides Escobar is different from some other players he has acquired in trades. Here are the details on Escobar and others in the Kansas City organization…

  • "Very rarely do you feel as good or better about a move after you get the player," Moore told Olney. But the Royals are happy with Escobar so far because he has been throwing well and making consistent contact at the plate. The Royals believe the shortstop has the potential to become a No. 2 hitter.
  • Melky Cabrera arrived to camp in good shape, but he isn’t guaranteed playing time. He, Jeff Francoeur, Kila Ka'aihue and Alex Gordon will all be competing for at bats.
  • As Olney reported yesterday, teams are expressing interest in Gordon, but Kansas City isn’t inclined to deal the former second overall pick because they think he could still flourish.
  • Though rival executives are in awe of Kansas City’s developing talent, the Royals want to see Mike Moustakas, Eric Hosmer and others thrive in the big leagues before they get too excited.
  • Yahoo's Jeff Passan points out that Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projection likes Ka'aihue and projects a 25 homer, .860 OPS output from him in 2011. Ka'aihue says he doesn't really buy into the projections, but says he thinks the forecasted stats are plausible.