Alex Gordon hasn’t done a whole lot since the Royals recalled him from the minors in mid-July, hitting .233/.323/.375 in 52 games, but he’s drawn some walks, shown some power, and most importantly is finally getting another chance to play regularly after destroying Triple-A pitching.
Gordon will turn 27 years old this winter, so the former college player of the year and No. 2 overall pick is rapidly approaching “put up or shut up” time given his .247/.330/.408 career line in 1,601 plate appearances as a big leaguer.
And he’s certainly talking a good game about his plans for 2011, telling Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star that he’s “going to dominate next year.”
Here’s more from Gordon:
Not that this year is over, but I’m going to dominate next year. I’ve shown flashes, but something that’s bothered me is I haven’t been consistent. I show flashes, and then I go into a little bit of a slump that kind of erases what I did. I just need to figure out how to be consistent and put it all together throughout the year. I feel comfortable in left field. I was struggling at third [base], and it was taking too much out of me. My numbers aren’t where I want them to be. I’m not producing like I want to produce. But I’m feeling good out there, and I think it’s going to come around.
Gordon is never going to live up to the tremendous hype he had as a college star or top-ranked prospect, but I remain convinced that he can be a very solid big-league hitter. I’m not quite as confident about that happening in Kansas City, because the Royals sent him to the minors at age 26 and only recalled him when he put up ridiculous numbers for three months at Triple-A.
With that said, general manager Dayton Moore talked to Dutton about Gordon and indicated that perhaps they have a bit more faith in him than I believed:
I think Alex is going to have a great year next year. I really do. I think Alex is going to be a solid contributor. I’ll say this: You can win a championship with Alex Gordon on your club. We’re counting on him to be that type of guy when we’re ready to win.
I still think there’s a pretty good chance the Royals trade Gordon this offseason, but if he does remain in Kansas City at least it now sounds like he’ll do so as an everyday player in 2011. And after that, if Gordon fails to produce, then he sank on his own.
In Saturday’s column for the Boston Globe, Nick Cafardo suggests that free agent Cliff Lee is seeking a guaranteed major league deal between $6 and $8 million plus incentives. That is turning some otherwise interested teams away, as the lefty is still recovering from a torn flexor tendon in his left elbow. Lee hasn’t pitched since July 31, 2014.
Last month, Lee’s agent Darek Braunecker said the pitcher would need “a perfect fit” to pitch in 2016. He also noted that Lee has begun a full offseason throwing program.
In his most recent season, Lee compiled a 3.65 ERA with 72 strikeouts and 12 walks in 81 1/3 innings for the Phillies. The Phillies had signed him to a five-year, $120 million contract in December 2010 but declined a club option for the 2016 season, instead buying him out for $12.5 million.
In an article for MASN on Friday, Steve Melewski noted that the Orioles were reluctant to forfeit their first round draft pick (14th overall) in order to sign free agent starter Yovani Gallardo. The club is now reconsidering its stance and rechecking the right-handers medicals, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Gallardo, who turns 30 on February 27, posted a 3.42 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 68 walks over 184 1/3 innings for the Rangers last season. The Rangers had acquired him in a trade with the Brewers, sending Luis Sardinas, Corey Knebel, and minor leaguer Marcos Diplan to Milwaukee.
Gallardo has posted an ERA below 4.00 in six of his last seven seasons. He remains unsigned into February, however, because his strikeout rate has rapidly decreased with each year since 2012. Per FanGraphs, that rate was 23.7 percent in 2012, then went to 18.6 percent, 17.9 percent, and 15.3 percent progressively. Some of that may have to do with diminishing fastball velocity, as Gallardo’s 90.4 MPH average marked a career low among his eight full seasons with at least 100 innings pitched.
The Orioles lost starter Wei-Yin Chen, who signed with the Marlins, and the back end of their rotation is highly speculative with Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright, Odrisamer Despaigne, and Tyler Wilson. Adding a veteran like Gallardo, even if he is apparently declining, may be stabilizing.
MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez passes along word from the Dominican Republic that right-hander Freddy Garcia will hang up his cleats for good after Sunday’s Caribbean Series championship game.
Garcia will start that game for the Tigres de Aragua out of Venezuela. He’s taking on Mexico’s Venados de Mazatlan.
“Venezuelan fans are expecting something good from Freddy and so is everybody,” said Tigres de Aragua manager Eddie Perez, who also serves as the bullpen coach for the Atlanta Braves. “Knowing that it’s his last game is going to make it very special. We all hope he pitches a really good game so he can retire in a good way and bring the title for Venezuela. Everybody who is rooting for Venezuela expects him to do well.”
Garcia’s last major league game was in the 2013 postseason. The 39-year-0ld will finish with a 4.15 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 6.4 K/9 in 2,264 career regular-season innings. He had a 3.26 ERA in 11 playoff starts, winning a World Series title with the White Sox in 2005.
MLB.com put together this very cool video montage reviewing the 2015 season and setting us up for what should be a wild 2016. Young stars, veterans chasing milestones, unpredictable divisional races.
It’s so close to spring training. Let’s do this.