Alex Gordon Rumors

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.

Teams Inquiring On Alex Gordon

Other teams have asked the Royals about Alex Gordon, according to ESPN.com's Buster Olney (on Twitter). And although the hype around Gordon has faded and shifted to a new group of Royals prospects, the team is still invested in him and its asking price remains high. Kansas City wants a "prime prospect" in exchange for Gordon, according to Olney.

Gordon, 27, has a .244/.328/.405 line in parts of four MLB seasons as a third baseman, first baseman and left fielder. Baseball America ranked him second among all prospects before the 2007 season, two years after the Royals selected him second overall in the draft. Gordon had 50-plus extra base hits in both of his first two MLB seasons, but slowed down in 2009-10, when he missed time with hip and hand injuries and spent more time in the minor leagues.

He earns $1.4MM through arbitration this year and won't be eligible for free agency until after the 2013 season. The Blue Jays were one of the teams to express interest in Gordon this fall.


Royals, Alex Gordon Avoid Arbitration

The Royals and Alex Gordon agreed to a one-year deal for 2011, avoiding arbitration, the team announced. Gordon made $1.15MM last year in his first campaign as an arbitration eligible player.

Gordon, the second overall pick in the 2005 draft, transitioned to the outfield last year after spending his entire career as a corner infielder. The 26-year-old hit .215/.315/.355 with eight homers in 281 plate appearances in 2010, so it seems unlikely that he got more than a token raise from the Royals.

Billy Butler, Kyle Davies and Rob Tejeda are Kansas City's remaining unsigned arbitration-eligible players, as MLBTR's Arbitration Tracker shows.


Odds & Ends: Tigers, Orioles, Manny, Astros, Uribe

Happy birthday to two former All-Star catchers!  Future Hall-of-Famer Ivan Rodriguez turns 39 today, while Angels manager Mike Scioscia turns 52.

Some news items…