Kansas City Royals could learn from mistake with Alex Gordon contract

(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

While no one was angry at the Kansas City Royals at the time for inking left fielder Alex Gordon to the biggest contract in franchise history, it’s evident that Gordon isn’t what he once was. What can the Royals take away from this?

After seeing Alex Gordon riding the bench the last two games, it’s easy for all of us to say that this contract has not panned out the way that the Kansas City Royals or the fans saw it going. Everyone thought that re-signing Gordon would further cement his legacy as one of the greatest Royals ever.

Instead, the signing was a horrible mistake, but there is a lesson that can be learned from this. For many years, the Royals knew their place in Major League Baseball. They knew they were bad and that the team wasn’t a popular landing spot for players.

In order to get free agents to come to Kansas City, the front office would have to shell out boatloads of cash to guys who weren’t worth it (Gil Meche, anyone?). Not being the popular kid in the MLB led to the Royals being so bad for such a long period of time.

When the team started to contend, however, everything was turned upside down. Suddenly, the Royals could afford to not only keep guys, but give them huge contracts that other teams wouldn’t compete with. That’s what the Royals did with Alex Gordon, and it should stop with him.

I know a lot of people are going to advocate for trying to keep one of the key guys hitting free agency this year. Between Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas, one of them has to stay, right? Well, not really, and that might be best for this team.

Overpaying for Alex Gordon killed this team in the long haul. They owe Gordon more money as the years pass by and the guy is barely hitting above the Mendoza line.

Not re-signing Cain to a long-term deal is a no brainer, as he’s near the same age as Gordon and has had a career of being banged up by injuries. If Cain would take a cheap one or two year deal, however, then sure, go for it.

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Hosmer and Moustakas aren’t going to take short-term contracts though, and I really don’t think either guy is going to sign for less than what Gordon got to stay here. Hosmer will be 28 when free agency starts and he’s been one of the best hitters for the Royals all season long. As of Wednesday, he was batting .320 with 21 home runs and plated 76 RBI in 2017.

Those kind of numbers are going to get Hosmer a ridiculously expensive contract this offseason and it’s one that the Royals should not offer him. I get that Hosmer is beloved here and we’d all like to see him remain Forever Royal, but that’s not how the sports industry works. As soon as Hosmer hit a slump, fans would throw him under the bus just like they did to Gordon.

As for Moustakas, his home run chase has been fun, but he’s clearly feeling that knee injury as the season progresses. He looks uncomfortable swinging the bat and he’s been playing the field less and less. Overpaying for him is simply not an option for the Royals due to the Gordon deal.

While no one enjoys watching Alex Gordon struggle, it has taught the Kansas City Royals a valuable lesson and that’s not to overpay guys for the sentimental value. Overpaying Hosmer could make sense, but unfortunately, the Royals won’t be able to offer what other teams will offer him.

Oh, in case you were wondering, the Royals still have Gordon on contract for two more years with a third year where they can opt out of. They owe him $20 million in each of the next two seasons and then will owe $4 million to opt out of the contract for the 2020 season.

While Gordon is still a good defender, he’s not worth $20 million for that, and therein lies the problem.