I remember watching Jurassic Park for the first time. It was Halloween 1993. My parents didn’t want us watching anything too scary but wanted to get the blood flowing I guess, so we sat down as a family and watched it. It was awesome. I loved every second of it. They made a few sequels but the reviews weren’t great so I largely ignored them. Then in 2015 the franchise resurrected and added Chris Pratt, a man crush of mine. I was in immediately; caught it on premiere night and loved it. Critics and audiences also dug it.
And like Hollywood does after a successful movie, they start thinking about sequels. Sure enough, they made Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. Last night I gave it a look. It was poopy. My love for Chris Pratt and excitement for bringing back Jeff Goldblum was not enough for me to ignore the innate badness of the film. It seemed like the runner-up plot that lost out to what they did in Jurassic World, and just decided it was the best they could come up with. So far, the Rotten Tomatoes scores shake out like this:
I think this graph can also apply to the career of Alex Gordon.
We all enjoyed the initial prime of Alex Gordon’s career (Jurassic Park), then came the dark ages of his expensive sub-par seasons (JP sequels), and the surprise resurrection this season (Jurassic World). Since the All Star break, he’s slashed .227/.294/.299 and people are still clamoring for him to be back next season. I fear it could turn into Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom territory and tarnish our image of Gordo when it’s completely unnecessary.
Not a farewell tour guy
One of the main arguments from people wanting Gordo back is the idea of a farewell tour. Let’s get one thing straight here: Gordo is not a farewell tour guy. Yes, the Royals will likely have a ceremony complete with a montage of the amazing catches, home runs, bubbles blown, etc. We will get teary eyed, give him a standing ovation, and think of better days.
He is not Mariano Rivera or David Ortiz or Alex Rodriguez or Derek Jeter. He’s probably not even Joe Mauer. He will not get similar ceremonies in other stadiums. He is not that rival player that other fan bases loved to hate. He is a good player with a great highlight reel. He’s a local hero, and that’s fine. Not everyone feels that way.
The rest of 2019 is not going to be fun for a lot of fans and most of us have probably checked out and moved on to football. Why not make this last month of baseball about Gordo. There’s still plenty of time we can spend celebrating a beloved player in 2019. We don’t NEED a whole season of it.
Not a flippable veteran
At the deadline, everyone wondered if Gordon would be tradeable. A team would have to take on a hefty contract and the Royals would have to eat a lot of money, but there was a possibility. That is until Gordo mentioned that he wouldn’t approve a trade to another team. While that’s really cool to hear, that means he wasn’t going to be bringing back anything of value for the future. Personally, I was fine with that. The player that loves a team/city so much that he won’t play for any others goes a long ways for me. But that isn’t going to change in 2020. Even if he turns into Mike Trout, he isn’t going anywhere and he’ll just be producing for a non-playoff team. That’ll be fun to watch, but it doesn’t help the team in the bigger picture.
The Royals have a glut of fringe outfielders
There’s finally a road to everyday at-bats for Bubba and Brett Phillips. We’re still trying to fit potential core pieces like Dozier and Soler into right field. If you’re trying to get meaningful at-bats for Nicky Lopez and Adalberto Mondesi, Whit’s gotta play somewhere. Nick Heath will likely be added to the 40-man roster in the offseason and we already know that the org wants to have a pinch runner/defensive replacement on the bench. So where does Gordo fit in a lineup that should be figuring out who is part of the future and who is not? The org would have to go out of their way to accommodate him. It’d be like tapping the breaks when they should be accelerating towards something at full speed, which is not entirely out of the question for this regime, but still.
Gordo is already going to be making $4M next season if he doesn’t play a single out for the Royals. If he agreed to come back for the major league minimum, he’s still 8 times more expensive than filling the void with in-house candidates. Considering how much the payroll effects roster decisions, are we really OK with spending that money to force a square peg into a round hole just for sentimental purposes?
What if that decision keeps the Royals from signing bounce-back candidates that could turn into future pieces (Luiz Gohara, David Paulino)? What if that decision keeps the Royals from extending core pieces like Mondesi, Keller, Dozier, etc.? For the remaining optimists in the fandom, what if that kept them from pursuing free agents to make the team better now? Yeah it’s just $4.5M and that’s not going to bring Stephen Strasburg or Madison Bumgarner (yeah I said it!) to Kansas City. But how many of us hated paying Billy Hamilton $4.25M this year (and another $1M next year) for a 0.5 fWAR season? All of us? Guess what. In this resurrection season of Gordo’s, he’s been worth 0.6 fWAR as of this writing. And all that is working under the assumption that Gordo takes the major league minimum. He won’t. It’ll be more.
Look, I love Gordo. He’s a definitive Royals HoFer with a solid case for a retired number and statue.
But this team is a business and he has no value to the future. At this time last year, 95% (made up stat) was ready to offload him and just eat the remaining money on his contract. Since then, he’s had a below average season by Alex Gordon standards and all of a sudden it’s a foregone conclusion that both sides will work something out for him to return for AT LEAST the 2020 season? He should be enshrined in a museum as to not tarnish his reputation by bringing him back when his time is done just for sentimentality. At best, he is a novelty that is fun to watch. At worst, the power is shut off, he escapes his cage, and tries to eat us all.