The Royals have continued their offseason trend of locking up core young performers to multiyear contract extensions. This time around, they've struck a deal with outfielder Alex Gordon.
Gordon and the Royals have agreed to a four-year pact worth $37.5 million. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star tweets that the deal breaks down thus: $6 million in 2012, $9 million for 2013, $10 million for 2014, and $12.5 million for 2015. The first year of the new contract replaces the one-year, $4.775-million deal he signed in February.
The Royals, obviously, are betting that Gordon will build upon the success he enjoyed last season, when he won a Gold Glove and authored a batting line of .303/.376/.502 (the latter thanks in part to a reconstructed swing). He was also able to break out in 2011 despite, for too many years, being shifted around the diamond and given inadequate opportunity at the highest level.
In a sense, though, it's been a long-time coming for Gordon, who was heavily hyped as the second-overall pick of the 2005 draft. Last season, Gordon, on the strength of his offensive and defensive bestowals plus underrated base-running, was able to compile a WAR (Wins above Replacement) of 6.9, which very quietly made him one of the most valuable players in baseball. He was probably a tad over his head in terms of that .305 batting average, but the secondary skills are undeniable, and he should remain a highly productive player for years to come.
Based on the going rates, Gordon can decline notably from 2011 levels and still give the Royals more than they're paying for. So kudos to GM Dayton Moore for locking up a complete player to what, projecting outward, looks like a very team-friendly contract.