In an apparent scramble to write a story in the midst of some MLB downtime, ESPN’s Jason Churchill put together a list of possible “sell high” candidates at the trade deadline. Some names on the list are definite possibilities given their contract status (Andre Ethier), but others, like the Kansas City Royals’ Alex Gordon, make no sense whatsoever. Churchill writes:
Gordon was a busted No. 2 overall draft pick before breaking through this season and is on pace for career-high numbers in every positive offensive category. He’ll hit arbitration for the second time over the offseason and the Royals have a chance to deal Gordon for help in other areas, such as pitching or catching, while he’s performing as well as he ever has and before he gets expensive.
The Royals’ timeframe for contention is nearing, and Gordon could be a part of the core of such a roster, but he’s 27 years old and not many scouts are sold that he’s more than passable in left field, nor trusted to continue to produce at this level. It’s the first time he’s hit for average and late bloomers have a tendency to have a short shelf life.
That’s quite the pessimistic view in our opinion, given that Gordon is just now coming to life and establishing himself as a positive force in the line-up. If anything, the Royals have waited a long time for such rewards with a considerable investment in terms of playing time and patience.
There’s also no reason to lump Gordon in with a lazy “short shelf life” content with no evidence to back up such statements or why Gordon would even be a candidate for such a career trajectory. The reality is that the scouting reports on Gordon throughout his early career were high on his potential because the tools were there — even in raw form. Now that he’s putting it together on a consistent basis, what does it mean that he’ll suddenly regress at the age of 27 or soon thereafter?
The Royals are hopefully poised for a long run once the rookies arrive and establish themselves at the major league level. But they’re going to need veterans surrounding them — guys like Alex Gordon and Billy Butler who can help them adjust. Unless Moore is blown away by a random offer, there’s no reason to even think Gordon is on the trade market.