The Royals have been told by Alex Gordon’s camp that they have “no chance” to re-sign their franchise cornerstone as things currently stand, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Gordon’s camp is seeking a contract that will pay him upwards of $20MM per season, and Heyman hears that Kansas City has only offered four years, noting that Jim Bowden reported at ESPN that the annual value of said offer is believed to be in the $12-13MM range.
With their chances of retaining Gordon looking slim, the Royals have begun to explore the market for alternatives, writes Heyman, including Denard Span, Gerardo Parra, Austin Jackson and another player who was with Kansas City in 2015 — Alex Rios. Each of those players, with the exception of Parra, is a client of agent Scott Boras, with whom the Royals have negotiated a number of deals in recent seasons. Span, coming off hip surgery, is said to be hosting a showcase for interested on teams on Jan. 8 next month, while Parra reportedly already has three-year offers in hand but hopes to land a fourth year. Jackson and Rios have both been largely absent from the rumor circuit this offseason. Each is coming off a relatively disappointing year, though Jackson was more productive than Rios both at the plate and in the field.
Heyman also discusses Kansas City’s ongoing search for rotation help, noting that while lefty Wei-Yin Chen sits atop the team’s wish list, but they won’t go to six years for him or offer the five-year, $100MM contract that Chen is reportedly seeking. (I’d personally expect Chen and Gordon to ultimately command relatively similar contracts, so it stands to reason that both would be out of the Royals’ price range.) Heyman also mentions Scott Kazmir and Yovani Gallardo, each of whom has previously been linked to Kansas City. He also, however, adds Ian Kennedy’s name to the list of players the Royals like.
The 31-year-old Kennedy hasn’t seen his name come up in many rumors this winter. He got off to a dreadful start in 2015, logging a 7.15 ERA through his first eight starts of the season. However, from June 1 moving forward, Kennedy righted the ship and recorded a 3.41 ERA with a 137-to-38 K/BB ratio in 129 1/3 innings across 22 starts. Though many were surprised to see Kennedy reject a qualifying offer — and that factor does figure to impact his market somewhat — he’s made at least 30 starts each season dating back to 2010, averaging 196 innings of 3.88 ERA with 8.4 K/9 against 2.9 BB/9 in that time. As a fly-ball pitcher that is susceptible to home runs, Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium would seem, on paper, to be an excellent fit for Kennedy. Not only does the stadium have spacious dimensions, Kansas City’s incumbent center fielder, Lorenzo Cain, is among the game’s premier outfield defenders. And Jarrod Dyson, who could see a more regular role in the outfield corners next season, has registered outstanding defensive ratings in his limited role in previous seasons.