No doubt, the last two seasons have been awfully tough for Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon. Since winning the 2015 World Series and signing a $72 million contract, Gordon has hit .214/.302/.346 (73 OPS+) in 276 games. Ouch.
Things are not going much better for Gordon this spring either. He is currently 4 for 46 (.087) with one extra-base hit and 17 strikeouts. During an in-game interview Tuesday night, Royals manager Ned Yost admitted Gordon has said he will "go to the minor leagues and get a bunch of at-bats" if he doesn't turn it around at the plate soon. Here's the video:
Of course, Gordon and Yost were referring to the team's minor-league spring training camp, not the actual minor leagues when the regular season begins. Minor-league spring games are pretty informal, and Gordon would be able to get upwards of 10-12 at-bats a day. It's fairly common. Lots of players do it. As long as there are pitchers to pitch, players can get as many at-bats as they want in minor-league camp.
That didn't stop Yost's comments from getting misinterpreted on social media as Gordon going to the actual minor leagues come Opening Day. I can understand the confusion -- how many fans know how minor-league camp works? -- but no, that's not what Yost meant. He'll go to minor-league spring training for a bunch of at-bats, if necessary. He won't go to Triple-A in April or something like that.
Yost made sure to clarify this on Wednesday.
Ned said Alex Gordon likely will play in Minor League games starting tomorrow to get 10-12 at bats a day, a common practice during spring. Also, Ned thought the whole Alex-to-the-Minors-to-start-the-season controversy was stupid and silly.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) March 21, 2018
Even if the Royals wanted to send Gordon to Triple-A to start the regular season, he has more than enough service time to refuse the assignment and remain in the big leagues. The club wouldn't do that to him anyway. Gordon is not blocking a prospect, and the team owes him all that money anyway. Might as well play him and see whether he can snap out of it.