While Alex Gordon is a lock to decline his $14MM player option, he doesn’t want to leave the Royals, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports in his latest notes column. “I want to be here,” Gordon told Heyman. “This is like my second home. We love it here … Obviously, things happen … but this is where we want to be.” Of course, Gordon figures to have a chance at a nine-figure contract on the open market if he chooses to test it, and the Royals have never come close to spending that kind of cash on any player before, as MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently pointed out. Heyman also spoke to Johnny Cueto, who acknowledged that his late slide has damaged his free-agent chances. “That’s the way it is,” Cueto said, adding that he hopes he can get some degree of redemption in the World Series. Cueto said adjusting to a new league has played a part in his struggles, but he’s still plenty open to the challenge of signing with an AL club. “The DH isn’t a bad thing,” said Cueto. “I like the challenge.”
More from Heyman’s piece and from around the league…
- John Lackey may have recently turned 37 years old, but his strong work in 2013-15 has some in the industry thinking that he could land a three-year deal worth $15-20MM annually, Heyman writes. I’d agree that a three-year offer is plausible, though the annual values mentioned by Heyman — especially at the top end of that range — seem pretty aggressive.
- The Rangers “are expected” to discuss a long-term deal with standout second baseman Rougned Odor following the completion of the World Series, Heyman hears. Odor, still just 21 years old (22 in February), was demoted to the minors earlier this year due to enormous struggles at the plate, but he was among baseball’s most productive middle infielders upon his return to the bigs. Odor went 3-for-3 on June 15 when he was recalled and proceeded to hit .292/.334/.527 with 15 homers through season’s end. Some might assume a bloated BABIP helped to inflate his numbers, but he batted a very sustainable .305 on balls in play after his recall from the minors.
- The Orioles have “limited interest” in former Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown, MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets. It’ll be interesting to see where Brown lands, and what kind of deal he gets. Baltimore would seem, on paper, to be somewhat of a fit for a buy-low corner outfield option, especially if the team’s front office devotes substantial resources to addressing its needs in the rotation and/or re-signing Chris Davis. However, Kubatko’s tweet doesn’t make it seem like Brown is anywhere near the top of Baltimore’s offseason targets.
- Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic provides an excellent preview of the Diamondbacks‘ expected search for starting pitching this offseason. Arizona can’t afford top-tier arms like David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann, he notes. Many teams will be in that boat, which could push the market for second-tier arms like Mike Leake beyond the D-Backs’ comfort zone. Piecoro calls Lackey a “perfect fit” for the Snakes, noting that his age will cap the number of years Lackey can receive and keep him in Arizona’s comfort range. Among other free agent candidates suggested by Piecoro are Hisashi Iwakuma and Nippon Professional Baseball righty Kenta Maeda, who is expected to be posted this winter. In terms of trade candidates, Piecoro points out that the Indians and D-Backs line up well, as Arizona has plenty of young bats — a big need for Cleveland, which possesses a wealth of young pitching.