Monday, February 26, 2007

Keeping Alex Gordon

I received an e-mail that asked some insightful questions recently. I've received permission to include it here:

By any chance do you know what Alex Gordon's contractual status is? I assume he is under a minor league contract with the AA team, and not a major league contract with the Royals? I also assume that would change were the Royals to keep him on the 25 man roster? Do you know?

What I'm getting at, I suppose, is if he turns out to be everything everyone says he'll be, how long might the Royals keep a hold of him before he follows Damon, Dye, Beltran, Ibanez, etc. out of town? --Michael, a transplanted Royals fan in Chicago

Here was my response:

Your concerns about Alex Gordon are well founded. During the negotiation process, Gordon wanted a $4 million+ signing bonus and a spot on the 40-man roster, which would have started the started the clock ticking regarding Gordon's options, and consequently it would have forced the Royals to pay him big money sooner (or risk losing him). Thankfully, the Royals didn't budge regarding the spot on the major league roster and they inked Gordon to a minor league contract. As a compromise, they bumped up their signing bonus offer to $4 million. Here's a link to a story on the Baseball America website that goes into more details about Gordon's signing.

If Gordon wins a spot in spring training, he'll be inked to a major league contract, and that starts the ball rolling. I think the Royals' climate is a little different than when Damon, Dye, Beltran, Ibanez, and others were in KC. Allard Baird's hands were tied by the Glass family when it came to paying top dollar to retain players. Dayton Moore gave Glass little option regarding personnel (within reason) if he was going to accept the position. Glass has bumped up the salaries considerably and with guys like Sweeney and Sanders in the last year of their contracts, an additional $16 million will be freed up after the 2007 season. Sweeney may re-sign with the Royals (I hope he does), but his base salary will be considerably lower and his contract will be heavy on incentives. I don't expect Sanders to be in a Royals uniform next season. And don't forget revenue sharing. The Royals have been receiving sizable checks the past couple of seasons (thanks largely to the Yankees) and I expect that to continue. In my opinion, the Royals have a better chance of retaining young talent than they've had in a long time.

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