4:12pm: GM Al Avila said that the Tigers are “out” on both Gordon and Cespedes, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link).
9:16am: The Tigers are “looking at” Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon as outfield options, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports (Twitter link). The Royals, however, believe the biggest threat to steal Gordon away from them presently comes from the nearby Cardinals, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (also via Twitter).
Seeing either outfielder end up in Detroit would be somewhat of a surprise considering the fact that GM Al Avila has previously indicated that he’s probably done pursuing outfield help after acquiring Cameron Maybin from the Braves. Adding Gordon or Cespedes would push Maybin into shared center-field duties with Anthony Gose and perhaps make outfield prospects Tyler Collins and Steven Moya expendable, as the team also has J.D. Martinez locked in as a long-term option in right field.
For the Cardinals, Gordon makes some sense as a replacement for Jason Heyward. Gordon is, in many ways, somewhat of an older version of Heyward — a premium outfield defender that can hit for a respectable average and get on base but lacks the prototypical power that many expect from a corner outfielder. Gordon is entering his age-32 season, while Heyward is entering just his age-26 season, though, so one has to wonder how Gordon’s glove will hold up over the life of a long-term deal. Nevertheless, the Cardinals have missed out on both David Price and Jeff Samardzija thus far this offseason and stand to potentially lose Heyward in addition to already having lost John Lackey (who signed with the Cubs) and Lance Lynn (who underwent Tommy John surgery). St. Louis has been linked to top free agents ranging from Price to Samardzija to Chris Davis, so Gordon is another impact player to add to the list and gives a bit more reason to believe that the Cardinals will be more aggressive spenders than we’re typically used to seeing this offseason.
The Angels have also recently been tied to Cespedes, and while the Mets recently contacted his representatives, assistant GM John Ricco said yesterday that it remains “unlikely” that Cespedes will return to Queens.