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How much is Alex Gordon worth?

What would be a fair offer?

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Alex Gordon's Royals career may very well be over, leaving him as one of the all-time greats to play in Kansas City. I am not sure if there has ever been more digital ink spilled in the Royals internet universe than on whether or not the Royals will re-sign franchise star Alex Gordon. This week, Matthew LaMar made a plea to the Royals to stop screwing around, and re-sign Alex Gordon already. But how much should it take?

As free agents and humans do, Gordon is looking to receive the best offer he can get. That doesn't always mean looking for the most money though. Many free agents are willing to allow some sort of "home team" discount, but that discount is typically not a significant one. Free agents may be willing to concede $5-10 millon or so to play for a team that they want rather than who just offers them the most money. Former Royal Ben Zobrist took slightly less money to play for the Cubs. But that doesn't mean that he would have accepted an offer from the Cubs $20 million less than the next bidder. When term sheets are close - in Zobrist's case, a $4 million difference between what the Cubs offered and what the Giants and Nationals offered -  it basically comes down to where the player wants to play.

The same principles apply to Gordon. I would imagine he is willing to give the Royals a discount of a few million or so stay with the team he's always been with and grew up cheering for. However much like Zobrist, Alex isn't going to walk away from an extra $10-15+ million  just because he enjoyed his time in KC.

On Wednesday, Jim Bowden reported that the Royals have been lowballing Gordon, offering him a contract worth about $12-13 million per year. That's pretty far below his market value, which is a five-year deal worth between $80-$100 million. FanGraphs free agency crowdsourcing (which isn't the most accurate predictors of market value but set a decent temperature) had pegged Gordon at five years, $90 million with an annual average value (AAV) of $18 million. Gordon is the fourth-highest player by crowdsourced AAV on their free agency board. You also should note that Alex has a higher 2016 fWAR projection than all of the players above him. Some of those players are looking for $130-150 million deals. Gordon is slightly older than those players, but he' is also projected to be a better player - a full win better than Chris Davis, for example.

Let's get something straight first: Alex Gordon is worth $100 million.

Year Age fWAR $/WAR Value
2016 32 3.5 $ 8,000,000 $   28,000,000
2017 33 3 $ 8,400,000 $   25,200,000
2018 34 2.5 $ 8,800,000 $   22,000,000
2019 35 2 $ 9,300,000 $   18,600,000
2020 36 1.5 $ 9,700,000 $   14,550,000
Total - 12.5 - $ 108,350,000

Yes, players decline as they get older. Gordon is likely to start declining in 2017 if not in 2016 also. However Gordon benefits from having a nice base to decline from.

Even if you decline him heavier than the normal aging curve he's still worth at least $80 million.

Year Age fWAR $/WAR Value
2016 32 3.5 $ 8,000,000 $   28,000,000
2017 33 2.75 $ 8,400,000 $   23,100,000
2018 34 2 $ 8,800,000 $   17,600,000
2019 35 1.25 $ 9,300,000 $   11,625,000
2020 36 0.5 $ 9,700,000 $     4,850,000
Total - 10 - $   85,175,000

Let's get really far out there and say Alex Gordon declines sharply. Then he also suffers some terrible accident in 2018 and doesn't play a single game for Kansas City but still collects his money.

Year Age fWAR $/WAR Value
2016 32 3.5 $ 8,000,000 $   28,000,000
2017 33 2.75 $ 8,400,000 $   23,100,000
2018 34 2 $ 8,800,000 $   17,600,000
2019 35 0 $ 9,300,000 $                       -
2020 36 0 $ 9,700,000 $                       -
Total - 8.25 - $   68,700,000

Even after that ridiculous scenario, the Royals reported five year, $62.5 million offer ($12.5 miillion AAV) offer is less than his value. Even if you don't think Gordon is worth $100 million, he's very likely worth at least $80 million, and at the very least he's worth $60 million.

Can the Royals afford this kind of contract? We will examine that next time.