Royals outfielder Alex Gordon could become a free agent after the 2015 season if he wanted to, but he intends to exercise his $12.5 million player option for the 2016 season instead, Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star reports. Apparently, Gordon arrived at this decision without collaborating with his agent, Casey Close.
“Casey’s not the boss of me,” Gordon said with a grin. “I’m sure he’ll have things to say and whatnot. But when it comes down to it, it’s my decision.”
Gordon is in the midst of a four-year, $37.5 million contract extension signed in March 2012. Assuming he doesn’t have a terrible 2015, Gordon would likely command close to, if not exceed nine figures on the open market. Due to very good defensive grades this season, Gordon has rated among the game’s most valuable players in baseball according to FanGraphs, even briefly surpassing Mike Trout. Since 2011, only five players have compiled more WAR than Gordon’s 21.4: Trout (27.0), Andrew McCutchen (25.1), Miguel Cabrera (24.9), Robinson Cano (24.1), and Ben Zobrist (22.4).
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area hints that the Giants may be done with outfielder Hunter Pence. It’s not clear just how seriously the club is contemplating such a decision, but there are six days remaining on Pence’s rehab assignment, at which point they’ll be able to recall him, reassign him to the minors or release him.
The 35-year-old outfielder has struggled to make a full recovery after spraining his right thumb during the first week of the season. Pence bounced back for a 17-game run with the Giants in April, during which he slashed a meager .172/.197/.190 with one double and one stolen base in 61 plate appearances, but was eventually placed on the disabled list with recurring soreness in his finger. He currently sports a promising .318/.359/.388 batting line with four extra-base hits (including a grand slam) over 92 PA in Triple-A Sacramento.
Despite his recent resurgence in Triple-A, the Giants may not need the additional outfield depth just yet. Mac Williamson, who was recalled in the wake of Pence’s DL assignment, has already cemented the starting role in left field and is off to a strong start at the plate as well. Of course, if the Giants decide to say a premature goodbye to their veteran outfielder (who, it should be said, helped them to two World Series championships over the last seven seasons), it’ll cost them the remaining balance on his $18.5 million salary for 2018.