Alex Gordon has been destroying Triple-A pitching since his demotion last month, hitting .359 with 10 homers and a 1.128 OPS in 38 games. He ranks second among Pacific Coast League hitters in batting average (.359), on-base percentage (.486), slugging percentage (.641), and OPS (1.128).
Meanwhile, the Royals are 27-37 and rank 12th in the league with a measly .668 OPS from their left fielders, with 34-year-old Scott Podsednik starting 59 of 64 games there. Normally that would equal an easy decision when it comes to calling Gordon back up and handing him the everyday job in left field, but since the Royals are the Royals they’ll instead leave him at Triple-A.
General manager Dayton Moore revealed over the weekend that the Royals have no plans to recall Gordon any time soon, and manager Ned Yost later echoed those comments:
I don’t want to bring Alex up here right now if he’s not going to play. And we’ve got enough outfielders with [Rick] Ankiel coming up, and that’s going to create another player to put in the mix. To me, he’s better off down there playing every day until something opens up.
Agreed, but here’s a craaaaaaaaazy idea: How about bringing Gordon up and playing him?
Podsednik is a 34-year-old corner outfielder with a .340 slugging percentage and Ankiel is a (currently injured) 30-year-old with a putrid .675 OPS in 141 games since the start of last season. Why in the world would a rebuilding team rather give regular playing time to either of them instead of a 26-year-old former No. 2 overall pick who has been crushing Triple-A pitching for the past six weeks?
So far this season 12 different Royals hitters have logged at least 50 plate appearances and Billy Butler is the only one younger than the 26-year-old Gordon. Meanwhile, Gordon and fellow 26-year-old Kila Ka’aihue rank second and third in the PCL in OPS. Perhaps Moore has abandoned all hope of putting together a winner in Kansas City and is instead focusing on building the Triple-A squad into a PCL contender?
What a mess.
Nick Cafardo provides this interesting nugget in his Sunday notes column at the Boston Globe …
Hanley Ramirez, 1B-DH, Red Sox — There’s now talk in the front office that Dave Dombrowski is trying to move Ramirez in a deal. The Mariners, Orioles, and Angels seem to be the targets, and all three make sense.
Cafardo notes that “there are huge hurdles to cross” before a trade could happen — like how much of Hanley’s remaining salary the Red Sox would have to eat and what positions the soon-to-be 32-year-old is able to play defensively at this point in his career.
Boston’s higher-ups have asked Ramirez to learn first base and drop 20 pounds this winter. Whatever team is looking to acquire him would probably have to be comfortable with him serving primarily as a designated hitter.
Hanley is owed $68.2 million over the next three seasons and he carries a $22 million vesting option for 2019. He batted just .249/.291/.426 in 105 games this past year.
Ben Zobrist posted a cool .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 126 games this summer between Oakland and Kansas City while appearing defensively at second base, third base, and both corner outfield positions.
His steady bat and defensive versatility make him a fit for just about every club in Major League Baseball, and the defending National League champions are among the teams in hot pursuit …
It’s a little odd to see the rebuilding Braves listed there given that Zobrist is 34 years old, but Rosenthal says the interest stems from a “desire for him to serve as [a] model for younger players” as the club prepares to open a new ballpark in 2017. Wasn’t that supposed to be Nick Markakis‘ job?
Zobrist and his agent Alan Nero are believed to be seeking a four-year deal.
Hey, the hot stove is finally generating some real fire …
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Tigers have agreed to terms on a contract with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. It’s a five-year deal worth around $110 million, per Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
This should have a domino effect on a loaded starting pitching market. David Price, Zack Greinke, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and Jeff Samardzija are just a few of the names still out there.
Zimmermann, 29, posted a 3.66 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, and 164/39 K/BB ratio in 201 2/3 innings this past season for the Nationals. He had a 2.66 ERA in 2014 and threw a no-hitter on the final day of the regular season.
Zimmermann’s free agency is tied to draft pick compensation because he rejected a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Washington, but the Tigers finished with one of the 10-worst win-loss records in 2015 so their first-round pick in 2016 is protected. Detroit will give up its second-round pick instead.
Here’s a pretty good way to finally break out of that turkey-induced Thanksgiving tryptophan coma.
It’s a compilation of the 10 longest home runs from the 2015 season, with MLB.com’s Statcast technology providing data along the path of each blast …