Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Royals outfielder Alex Gordon would be a huge upgrade for the Tigers in 2013, but is he even available?
Somewhere, there are Tigers fans that have convinced themselves that the Kansas City Royals are shopping two-time Gold Glove winning left fielder Alex Gordon. Royals fans aren't convinced. I'm just going to stay impartial and write this post, because sometimes you need a break from a five-hour Duck Dynasty marathon.
Who is he?
It seems like Gordon has been around forever, but the third baseman-turned-outfielder will be 29 years old on Opening Day 2013. He was the #2 overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft, breaking into the major leagues with the Royals as a third baseman in 2007. After a few sub-par years, Gordon transitioned to left field full-time in 2011 and responded with a monster season. In the past two years, Gordon has hit .298/.372/.478 with 37 home runs and 159 RBIs while playing excellent defense in left field. While Gold Glove awards can normally be taken with a large grain of salt, Gordon is very deserving of the two consecutive awards he has won.
Why should we care?
See above. Gordon might not live up to the superstar billing that comes with a #2 overall selection (Justin Verlander says hi), but his transition to the outfield has been surprisingly successful after playing just 123 combined games in 2009 and 2010. He has shown excellent plate discipline throughout his career, walking in 9.9% of his plate appearances. He has decreased his strikeout rate in the past two seasons while improving his line drive percentage to a career high 25% in 2012. His defense has been excellent, throwing out 37 base runners in the past two years. He is also a pretty good base runner, stealing 27 bases in the past two years.
Why should we stay away?
If the Royals are even listening to offers on Gordon to begin with, they will need to be blown away to part with him. Odds are that a package would have to be centered around either Rick Porcello or Nick Castellanos (or both), pieces that I wouldn't be too keen on sending to a division rival. Royals GM Dayton Moore can ask for the moon for Gordon because he has no other incentive to give him away.
Gordon has struggled against left-handed pitching throughout his career as well, hitting just .238/.311/.389 against southpaws. He wasn't any better in 2012, hitting .248/.311/.357 against lefties.
Will he end up in Detroit?
Honestly, I'm not sure whether the Alex Gordon trade rumors are legitimate, or if people are just overvaluing Dayton Moore's incompetence. If you Google "Alex Gordon trade," there are plenty of articles about why teams should trade for Gordon, but nothing stating that the Royals have expressed any desire whatsoever to part with their left fielder. Yeah, it might happen if you overpay, but trading Rick Porcello to a division rival with a good infield defense could have disastrous consequences. So, I'm going to put the odds of this trade happening slightly above the the chances that I end up in right field for the Tigers next season. Sorry, but it's not happening.