At a recent instructional night for youth baseball in Nebraska, Alex Gordon told Ken Hambleton of the Lincoln Journal Star that there’s “no truth” to the recent report that the Royals have been told they have “no chance” of re-signing their longtime left fielder. (Though it should be noted, the initial report said “no chance” based on the club’s current offer as opposed to “no chance” in a general sense.) As is the case with any player, Gordon almost certainly wouldn’t publicly rule out a destination — especially not one where he has spent his entire career to date. Gordon spoke fondly of his time in as a member of the Royals when talking with Hambleton. “We had so much fun, and to be around to see a team grow like Kansas City did and win the World Series was unbelievable,” he explained. “Right now I’m unemployed and I pay an agent 4 percent to make the calls, take the calls and let me know what’s going on,” he continued.
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- Hambleton also spoke to Gordon’s longtime friend and current free agent Brian Duensing (another Nebraska native). “Waiting for a new contract is very scary and stressful, but you can’t let it bother you,” said the former Twins lefty. “They say you never have too much pitching, but I’m waiting to see that come true.” Duensing spent the past seven seasons with the Twins and, after initially seeing a good deal of work as a starter, settled into a bullpen role. Duensing, 33 in February, has a 3.82 ERA over his past 164 innings of relief (three seasons’ worth of work), but his strikeout rate has plummeted in recent seasons, and he’s long been susceptible to right-handed hitters.
- Royals assistant GM J.J. Piccolo said in an appearance on MLB Network Radio today that right-hander Kyle Zimmer is someone the team envisions helping in its rotation, possibly as soon as early 2016 (Twitter link). Zimmer, a former No. 4 overall draft pick, has seen his career slowed by shoulder problems but has put together an impressive resumé when healthy. The 24-year-old worked mostly in relief last year while returning from injury but worked to a 2.39 ERA in 64 innings between Class-A and Double-A, and he has a lifetime 3.28 ERA with 10.8 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 216 2/3 minor league innings. Durability will be a question for Zimmer until he proves he can handle a full season’s worth of innings, but his upside is substantial.
- It makes little sense for the White Sox to add Todd Frazier and Brett Lawrie if a significant outfield addition is not on the horizon, opines Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times. The Sox have made a pair of upgrades in the infield but still have questions at both corner outfield spots and DH. And, while some believed that owner Jerry Reinsdorf would be reluctant to spend heavily in back-to-back offseasons after a disappointing 2015 season, Van Schouwen notes that the White Sox have long operated in a win-now capacity and are clearly doing so this winter. Adding an outfielder and trading Avisail Garcia or giving Melky Cabrera more DH at-bats would deepen the Sox’ lineup and serve to complement a promising core of Chris Sale, Jose Quintana, Carlos Rodon, Adam Eaton, Jose Abreu, David Robertson and the newly acquired Frazier.