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GMs to consider eliminating trade waivers

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The General Manager Meetings are taking place in San Diego this week. We don’t often get a lot of general news from those. Heck, at the moment two teams — the Giants and the Orioles — don’t even have general managers. The best way to think of the GM Meetings is to think of them as a warmup to the Winter Meetings which will take place in Las Vegas next month.

There could be some news, however. Jon Morosi of MLB.com reports that the assembled executives are going to at least consider eliminating trade waivers and moving to a uniform trade deadline. Possibly in mid-August.

As you probably know, after the July 31 trade deadline, teams can still make trades by putting players on waivers. By doing so, other teams can put in a claim on that player. The team with the worst record in the same league as the waiver player gets to put in the first claim, followed by the team with the worst record in the other league, and on up the chain. If a player is claimed, his team can simply let him go for free to the claiming team or it can negotiate a trade with the claiming team. It can only trade the player to anyone it wants if the player goes unclaimed by all 29 other teams (i.e. he “clears waivers”). If a waiver trade is made before August 31, the player will be eligible for the postseason on his new team.

As that description suggests, it’s a rather complicated process. It also invites gamesmanship, as one team may place a claim on a player with no intention of trading for him, simply to prevent a team with a better record from trading for him. It certainly makes it harder to make trades. Moreover, given that, with the addition of the two Wild Cards, more teams are in playoff contention later in the season than they may have been a few years ago, it makes it harder for a would-be playoff team to make an aggressive move to help its chances in the final two months of the season.

In order for waiver trades to be eliminated and for a later general trade deadline to be established, the players’ union will have to sign off. It’s not totally clear where they might stand on it, but the GMs taking up the issue would certainly inspire them to say what they think about it.

Royals outfielder Gordon to retire after 14 seasons

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Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the former first-round pick whose rollercoaster career took him from near bust to All-Star and Gold Glove winner, announced Thursday he will retire after the season.

Gordon was the second overall pick in the 2005 first-year player draft following a standout career at Nebraska, where he won the Golden Spikes Award as the best amateur in baseball. He made his big league debut two years later and, after a few years shuttling back and forth to the minors, moved from third base to the outfield and finally found success.

He wound up playing his entire 14-year career in Kansas City, joining only George Brett and Frank White as position players with that much longevity with the franchise. He heads into a weekend four-game series against Detroit with the third-most walks (682), fourth-most homers (190), fifth-most doubles (357) and sixth-most games played (1,749) in club history.

The three-time All-Star also holds the dubious distinction of being the Royals’ career leader in getting hit by pitches.

While he never quite hit with the kind of average the Royals hoped he would, Gordon did through sheer grit turn himself into one of the best defensive players in the game. He is the only outfielder to earn seven Gold Gloves in a nine-year span, a number that trails only White’s eight for the most in franchise history, and there are enough replays of him crashing into the outfield wall at Kauffman Stadium or throwing out a runner at the plate to run for hours.

Gordon won the first of three defensive player of the year awards in 2014, when he helped Kansas City return to the World Series for the first time since its 1985 championship. The Royals wound up losing to the Giants in a seven-game thriller, but they returned to the Fall Classic the following year and beat the Mets in five games to win the World Series.

It was during the 2015 that Gordon hit one of the iconic homers in Royals history. His tying shot off Mets closer Jeurys Familia in Game 1 forced extra innings, and the Royals won in 14 to set the tone for the rest of the World Series.

Gordon signed a one-year contract to return this season, and he never considered opting out when the coronavirus pandemic caused spring training to be halted and forced Major League Baseball to play a dramatically reduced 60-game schedule.

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