Alex Gordon has had himself a fine career. Although he never lived up the George Brett hype unfairly assigned to him after he was drafted out of Nebraska, he turned himself into an All-Star left fielder and perennial Gold Glove winner. Most major leaguers will never reach those heights. Despite all the losing he’s found himself a part of, Alex is dedicated to Kansas City and quietly fills the role as a team leader. He’s not only a highly respected member of the Royals organization, but all around baseball, on and off the field.
Granted, Gordo is well past his prime. He enjoyed success when the team needed it most, and it lead them to two pennants and a World Series Championship. 2016, 2017, and a good chunk of 2018 were a disaster at the plate for the left fielder. Many amongst the SB community suggested it was linked to his groin strain in July of 2018. Facebook fans (who, for the most part, have no clue what they’re talking about) advocated a lack of effort on Alex’s part, especially considering he fell off the map after signed a long term, air-tight extension with the organization. At the time, the four year deal looked like a steal, even for a small market team. Looking at his offensive and defensive statistics, traditional and advanced, Gordon provided nothing but value at his position between 2011 and 2015. Like many long terms deals signed with players in their early thirties, it simply hasn’t worked out ideally thus far.
Although his recent slumping in the last few weeks is waving a red flag, Alex is off to his best offensive start in several years, while providing solid defense in left (albeit not his career par). As repeatedly suggested and mirrored by his teammates in the lineup, perhaps he’s pressing too hard. It’s been difficult to watch the Royals this year, and it’s undoubtedly more difficult to be a part of it. Notable youngsters Mondesi, Lopez, and O’Hearn are pressing as much as veterans Merrifield, Hamilton, and Gordo. The team wide slump seems to have taken a turn for the best in the last week, so perhaps key pieces including Alex will turn things around to revisit his early season surge.
Regardless of his offensive production in the second half (assuming he’s not traded), the current outfield prospects in the farm system is pretty dried up. Until Khalil Lee, Seuly Matias, and Kyle Isbel develop in High A, Phillips discovers how to hit, and Moore stops wasting Bubba’s talent in Omaha, Gordon remains our best option in left field. If they decide to hold on to Soler at the deadline (which seems likely, due to his lack of trade stock), and despite Yost’s persistence to put him in right, Jorge appears to be the future DH of this team. Hamilton will be gone. If Boni continues to show production at a big league level he may be shipped off as well for more of a return than we may’ve expected in March.
All I’m pointing out is the ideal scenario where someone (Gordo) will need to hold down left field and provide valuable veteran leadership until someone younger is ready to take over. Even the most youthful teams have a small handful of veterans to guide the youngsters to success. This handful could be Gordon and Perez (and Whit and Duffy, also, assuming they aren’t traded (a dangerous assumption)).
That being said, if this is Alex’s last year, then I definitely picture him playing a part in this organization for years to come. However, come August, perhaps he and Moore will determine if there’s still a couple years of gas left in his tank on the field. Part of me hopes so.