Alex Gordon is apparently too good for the Royals

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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.

Seattle Mariners to make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani

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Mariners general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a team-sponsored podcast the other day that the M’s will make a “full-court press” for Shohei Ohtani. To that end, Dipoto said that the M’s would be willing to let the two-way star to pitch and to hit, which is something Ohtani is interested in doing in the United States. Not all clubs are likely to let him do this, with most likely seeing him as a starting pitcher only.

Ohtani, who is expected to be posted by his Japanese team, the Nippon Ham Fighters, possibly as early as today, can sign with anyone he wants. He is, however, subject to the international bonus pool caps, so the bids on him will be somewhat limited. The Texas Rangers and New York Yankees have the most money available: $3.535 million for the Rangers and $3.5 million for the Yankees. The Twins ($3.245 million), Pirates ($2.266 million), Marlins ($1.74 million) and Mariners ($1.57 million) are the only other teams with more than $1 million left. Twelve teams — including the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Astros — are limited to a maximum of $300,000, having met or exceeded their caps for this signing period already.

Ohtani, however, is said to be less motivated by money than he is by finding the right situation. While a lot of guys say that, the fact that Ohtani is coming over to the U.S. now, when his financial prospects are limited, as opposed to waiting for two years when he is not subject to the bonus caps and could sign for nine figures, suggests that he is telling the truth. As such, a team like the Mariners that is willing to allow him to hit and pitch could make up for the couple of million less they have in bonus money to spend.

As for how that might work logistically, Dipoto said that the team would be willing to play DH Nelson Cruz a few days in the outfield to accommodate Ohtani, allowing him to DH on the days he’s not pitching. That might be . . . interesting to see, but given how badly the Mariners could use a good starting pitcher, they have an incentive to be creative.

Ohtani, 23, suffered some injuries in 2017, limiting him to just five starts and 65 games as a hitter. In 2016, however, he hit .289/.356/.547 with 22 homers in 342 at-bats and went 11-3 with a 3.24 ERA, and a K/BB ratio of 146/51 in 133.1 innings as a starter.

Five clubs have more money to spend on Ohtani than the Mariners do. None of those teams are on the west coast, which some Asian players have said in the past they preferred due to faster travel back home. The Mariners, owned for a long time by a Japanese company which still retains a minority interest in the club, and long the home for high-profile Japanese players such as Ichiro and Hisashi Iwakuma, likely have a better media and marketing reach in Japan than most other teams as well, which might be a factor in his decision making process. Is all that enough to sway Ohtani?

We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.