The Kansas City Royals will have the services of left fielder Alex Gordon for one more year, but what will it take to lock up the talented player beyond that?
Ken Rosenthal at FOX Sports reports that the 28-year-old former No. 2 overall draft pick is likely to command a hefty price tag following the 2012 season, but retaining him is not necessarily out of the realm of possibility for Kansas City.
Gordon might not command $100 million - his track record is shorter than those of Zimmerman, Braun and Tulowitzki. But he almost certainly will want more than $55 million, the previous club record shared by Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney.
Negotiations for an extension are in the early stages, but expected to intensify later this spring, major-league sources say.
The Royals might prefer to wait and see if Gordon can repeat his stellar 2011 season. But by next off-season, Gordon will be only one year away from free agency and perhaps more eager to test the open market.
Rosenthal notes that Royals GM Dayton Moore has Gordon and designated hitter Billy Butler in mind as the core of the team's future, but retaining them both will likely prove to be costly.