KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon has opted for free agency, turning down his $14 million player option for 2016.
OF Alex Gordon has turned down his player option with the #Royals for 2016, making him a free agent.
— Royals (@Royals) November 5, 2015
The move is not unexpected and does not preclude the Royals from negotiating a new contract with Gordon; it simply means that the outfielder can negotiate with all 30 Major League Baseball teams when free agency begins this Saturday, November 7. The Royals have a window to work something out with him exclusively until then.
Gordon also provided World Series heroics in Game 1, blasting a game-tying home run to center field in the bottom of the ninth that set the stage for the Royals 14 inning, 5-4 victory. For the postseason, Gordon was fifth among regular Royals players with an on-base plus slugging percentage of .775. He also scored 10 runs and drove in six during the Royals title run.
So what can Royals fans expect it to take to ensure that Gordon is patrolling left field at Kauffman Stadium in 2016 and beyond? The Royals have the option to extend him a qualifying offer of $15.8 million for one year, which would provide the team a compensatory draft pick if Gordon goes elsewhere. While the Royals may offer that, Gordon is likely looking for a long-term deal.
FanGraphs crowdsourced contracts for 2016 free agents, and the crowds say that Gordon could command a five-year deal for $90 million. New York Post baseball writer Joel Sherman calls Gordon and Yoenis Cespedes the best defense left fielders in baseball, and says open bidding could land Gordon a five-year deal for more than $75 million.
However it plays out, expect Gordon to get at least four years at an annual average value of at least $15 million. The Royals are likely serious about trying to keep Gordon in KC, as indicated by two moves made earlier on Wednesday. The Royals saved $17.8 million off of 2016’s payroll by buying out contracts for outfielder Alex Rios and pitcher Jeremy Guthrie instead of exercising their options.