Alex Gordon Rumors

Stark On Hanley, Royals, Astros, Rays, Pedro

Teams called about Hanley Ramirez after this week's drama, but the Marlins informed them that they have no interest in dealing their superstar, writes ESPN.com's Jayson Stark. The Marlins will hold onto Hanley, at least until their new ballpark opens in 2012. Here are the rest of Stark's rumors:

  • Teams have expressed interest in some Royals, but the Royals have told them to call back in a month. Teams are hearing that Alex Gordon and Joakim Soria are not available. Jose Guillen would be easier to obtain than those two, but Stark hasn't heard of a single team with interest.
  • Ned Yost would have been a candidate to replace Bobby Cox in Atlanta after the season, had he not taken over in Kansas City. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez could also manage the Braves next year, in the opinion of one person close to the team.
  • Astros GM Ed Wade insists that he wants to win now, but says he'll "pay attention to any opportunity" that makes the team better if the 14-26 Astros fall further out of contention. In other words, the Astros could be sellers if they don't win soon.
  • Rival clubs say they don't expect the Rays to trade for a reliever just because J.P. Howell is out for an extended period of time. One executive thinks the Rays would love to add a couple of power arms to their 'pen eventually.
  • Executives disagree on Pat Burrell's future. One exec says Burrell could fit in Seattle and another one doesn't see any good fits for the free agent.
  • The Phillies have had discussions with Pedro Martinez, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. acknowledged. There's mutual interest in a deal and the sides continue communicating.
  • One official says top amateur pitcher Jameson Taillon is "way overpriced."
  • Two of Stark's sources are uneasy with MLB's attempt to hurry along the Rangers' sale.

Where Could Alex Gordon Go?

Let's face it: if the Royals aren't going to give Alex Gordon a chance to play regularly when they are 11-21, 10 games out of first, and weeks shy of Memorial Day, he has fallen out of favor with the club. After just 38 plate appearances, the Royals sent Gordon - the player they once selected him second overall - to Triple-A to make way for… Alberto Callaspo.

But Gordon, still just 26, is a career .320/.433/.577 hitter in the minor leagues. Clearly, some team should take a flier on Gordon as a possible long-term answer at third base. Which teams are best suited to do so, and how much is it likely to cost?

  • The Phillies seem like an interesting landing spot for Gordon, though not at first blush. Placido Polanco, after all, is signed through 2012. But Gordon could be an upgrade from Greg Dobbs at the very least. If Gordon fulfills his promise, the Phils could attempt to deal Polanco. More to the point, Gordon seems to fit the Phillies' template- his acquisition would be akin to the buy-low on Jayson Werth- and Philadelphia has depth in the farm system. A couple of their secondary pitching prospects could get it done.
  • The Orioles have a combined zero homers from Rhyne Hughes and Garrett Atkins, so Gordon could appeal to them as an option at first. Corner infield prospects Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell lurk in the minors, but with Miguel Tejada locked up for just one year, Gordon would provide the O's with depth and upside.
  • The Athletics don't have a ton in the way of a present or future player blocking Gordon. Kevin Kouzmanoff is a decent option, but he hardly has Gordon's upside at this point. With a number of nearly-ready pitching prospects to integrate into a young staff, the Athletics could well deal from pitching depth for Gordon, too.
  • The Padres are another possible landing spot, with Chase Headley unlikely to keep up his batting average-fueled start. San Diego has several third base prospects, including James Darnell, who Baseball America ranked as the organization's third-best prospect heading into the season. Still, none of the Padres prospects have even proven themselves at Double-A, so acquiring Gordon and giving him the chance to win the third base job wouldn't impact any of them in the short-term. It would also echo the acquisition of another buy-low, former top draft pick: Adrian Gonzalez. A package of one of the Padres' third base prospects and a pitcher should be enough to pry Gordon loose.

Stark On Gordon, Dunn, Lowell

The five most untradeable contracts in baseball?  ESPN's Jayson Stark's poll of baseball executives say it's Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, Travis Hafner, Carlos Lee, and Barry Zito.  Hard to argue; check out our Bad Contract Swap Meet from last year for a look at other ugly deals.  It was interesting to see Daisuke Matsuzaka and Kosuke Fukudome nab honorable mentions in Stark's poll.  On to his other rumblings…

  • Stark's conversations led to repeated mentions of the new collective bargaining agreement, which will go into effect in December of 2011.  The uncertainty will have an impact – will 2011 draftees lack leverage, knowing that a slotting system could be installed the following year?  Does it make sense to worry about Super Two status for Mike Stanton now, when that provision might not exist in 2012?
  • Teams have kicked the tires on Alex Gordon, but the Royals have no interest in trading him.  MLBTR's Luke Adams led a discussion post on Gordon yesterday.
  • The Dodgers are scouring the trade market for starting pitching, while the Royals and Phillies seek bullpen help.  The Mariners and Braves are trying to add offense.  The Diamondbacks are actually more interested in starting pitching than relief, and are expected to have Chris Snyder available once Miguel Montero returns.
  • A "baseball man familiar with the Nationals' thinking" expects Adam Dunn to return in 2011, though not necessarily via an in-season extension.
  • A friend of Mike Lowell tells Stark the third baseman would love to play for the Twins or Angels if the Red Sox plan to trade him.
  • The Phillies have recently adopted a stance against full no-trade clauses, which is reflected in the Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard extensions.


Discussion: Alex Gordon

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.

If it were your decision, what would you do with Gordon, a player once drafted ahead of Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, and Troy Tulowitzki?


Odds & Ends: Harper, Escobar, Vazquez, Gordon

Links for Monday, as Joe Blanton makes his 2010 debut…


Odds & Ends: Royals, Byrnes, Colon, Twins

A few links to browse, as we prepare for the Mets' third consecutive appearance on Sunday Night Baseball….

  • R.J. Anderson of Fangraphs weighed in on the Royals' demotion of Alex Gordon.
  • Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner (via Twitter) has a gut feeling that the M's will release Eric Byrnes tomorrow.  Heading into today's game, Byrnes had a slash line of .107/.265/.179 in 34 plate appearances.
  • Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that reports of the Royals selling Ramon Colon to Korea's Kia Tigers appear to be premature.  However, the deal for the righty should happen sometime mid-week.
  • In a guest piece at Minorleagueball.com, Twins' prospect guru Seth Stohs tells readers about five Twins prospects that you might not know, but probably should.
  • ESPN New York's Ian O'Connor spoke with Omar Minaya about several Mets-related issues, including his early impression of Ike Davis and Jerry Manuel's contract status. Minaya offers praise for Manuel, but says he won't be approached about an extension until season's end.
  • The New York Post's Joel Sherman writes that the Rays' front office will continue to keep their club competitive, regardless of how many fans are in the stands. He also opines that the presence of Desmond Jennings and Jeremy Hellickson in Triple-A Durham gives the team the flexibility to make a trade that would help them both immediately and in the long-term.
  • Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times examines how the Dodgers' cost cutting has affected their scouting and player development.
  • J.D. Durbin has signed a one-year deal with NPB's Softbank Hawks, according to Kyodo News. The 28-year-old right-hander last pitched in the majors in 2007 for the Phillies.

Odds & Ends: Nationals, Angels, Royals

As the West Coast games get started, here are some tidbits to snack on…


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Noon ET today was the deadline for both the team and player to submit their salary figures for arbitration, however the two sides can come to an agreement at any point before the actual hearing. The hearings are scheduled for the first week of February.

We'll keep track of the players who avoid arbitration today by agreeing to deals here. Make sure you check back in for updates, and be sure to click the "Continue Reading" link to see today's full list of settlements.  Yesterday's list can be found here.

  • Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times reports that the Angels avoided arbitration with Mike Napoli and Reggie Willits by signing the duo to one-year deals.  Napoli will earn $3.6MM in 2010 with a $100K bonus if he makes 120 starts.  Willits' contract is worth $625K. 
  • Zach Duke's one-year contract with Pittsburgh is worth $4.3MM with no performance bonuses, tweets Dejan Kovacevic of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
  • The Padres and reliever Mike Adams have agreed to a contract, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (via Twitter).  Brock's follow-up tweet says Adams' deal is worth $1MM, virtually splitting the difference between San Diego's $875K offer and Adams' $1.2MM demands.
  • Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune tweets that the Twins have agreements in place with all eight of their arbitration eligible players.  In a follow-up tweet, Christensen reports that Francisco Liriano agreed to a one-year deal worth $1.6MM and Jesse Crain agreed to a one-year contract worth $2MM.
  • Marc Carig of the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports that the Mets avoided arbitration with reliever Sean Green (via Twitter).  The one-year deal was worth $975K, according to the New York Daily News' Anthony McCarron.
  • The Tigers avoided arb with Gerald Laird and Zach Miner as well according to James Jahnke of The Detroit Free Press.  MLB.com's Jason Beck tweets the details on the one-year contracts: Laird will earn $3.95MM, Miner will earn $950K.
  • Christensen tweets that the Twins avoided arb with Brendan Harris, signing him to a two year deal worth $3.2MM with another $650K in possible incentives.
  • The Tigers and Bobby Seay avoided arbitration according to MLB.com's Jason Beck (via Twitter), agreeing to a one year deal worth $2.475MM.
  • Thesier tweets that Matt Guerrier agreed to a one year deal worth $3.15MM with the Twins, avoiding arb.
  • Amalie Benjamin of The Boston Globe tweets that the Red Sox have avoided arbitration with Ramon Ramirez and Manny Delcarmen, with Delcarmen getting $905K plus incentives according to Joe McDonald of The Providence Journal. Boston avoided arb with Jonathan Papelbon as well.

(more…)


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Odds & Ends: Gordon, Uribe, D’backs, Igawa

Links for a busy Wednesday, as writers, agents, and GMs catch their flights out of O'Hare…


Royals Rumors: Soria, Gordon, Buck, Jacobs

ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick explores many of the disappointing elements of the Royals' 2009 season and turns up some rumors along the way. Here they are: 

  • GM Dayton Moore says he tried to build a winner and holds himself accountable for the team's failure.
  • Now he wants to build through scouting and player development. The Royals' system has improved as the team has spent more, but there's not an abundance of talent in the upper minors.
  • Crasnick says the Royals need a "major overhaul" but suggests no one on the team's roster other than Zack Greinke or Joakim Soria would fetch much in a trade.
  • Some believe the Royals would be better off shopping Soria for two or three young players. Moore says he'll be open-minded to that sort of deal if it helps the Royals long-term.
  • One AL scout says the Royals rushed Alex Gordon and prevented him from developing fully.
  • The Royals may not offer contracts to John Buck and Mike Jacobs after the season.