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We all know the story of the Kansas City Royals and projections the last couple seasons. Before 2014 Kansas City was projected to finish 79-83 by Baseball Prospectus, in a tie for second in the American League Central with the Cleveland Indians. The Royals did ten games better, finishing 89-73, earning a Wild Card berth and ending up one game short of winning the World Series. In 2015, the Royals were projected to finish(once again by Baseball Prospectus) even worse, 72-90, the second worst projected total in the American League. The Royals would easily eclipse this projection, finishing 95-67, winning the American League Central, claiming home field advantage throughout the playoffs and eventually winning the World Series. So with pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training in less than two weeks, once again the Royals are once again projected to finish 79-83, this time by Fangraphs. Last year, Royals fans were in an uproar over this, feeling like the team was being overlooked and not given the respect they earned after the 2014 World Series. Even into the summer, when Kansas City steamrolled past the 72 win mark, fans would make snide remarks and mock BP, questioning the website and the way they came to their results. But the real problem isn’t Baseball Prospectus or Fangraphs; no, the real problem is that fans(and analysts alike) put too much stock in projections and predictions.

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Let’s start with the PECOTA projections. I actually had no issue with the Royals being projected so low, as it made sense to me. Most of their projections are taken off of a players’ past performance and the Royals had a number of players who accumulated poor seasons in 2014. A lot of people just remember the playoffs, when Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer looked like beasts and the Royals looked like an unbeatable locomotive. The truth was that Moustakas had an awful 2014, Hosmer’s wasn’t great and they weren’t alone. A good chunk of the Royals lineup did not fare well, so of course the projections would be lower. Even offseason acquisition Kendrys Morales was coming off of a lackluster campaign, one in which he put up worse numbers than the man he was replacing, Billy Butler. PECOTA puts a lot of stock in past performance, so this made sense. Sam Miller of BP wrote a great article about how they came to these results, in which Miller even admits that they need to work on improving the weight of a good bullpen and excellent defense can have on a team winning. The final paragraph speaks volumes about the projections and why they aren’t perfect:

While PECOTA aspires to be perfect, what it really does is this: It projects players, individually; it converts those performances into expected runs, based on how baseball usually works; then it converts those runs into expected wins, based on how baseball usually works. At each step along the way, it gets harder to be perfect, and the Royals demonstrate that challenge well. Some players did better than we expected; some offered incomplete data on which to project them; some were added to the roster at midseason; some found the right fit. None of us is arrogant enough to think that projection systems are magic; baseball is impossible to predict with the sort of precision that avoids situations like 2015 Royals. We all know we can’€™t outrun the bear

To sum this up, the projections are based off of projected numbers put up by each player on the team. If you calculate the players who will get injured or the players who will be acquired within the season, these numbers are bound to be off. In fact, as much as I use BP quite frequently during the season(the yearly projection book is normally right beside my desk), I also know that the projections are just that, not a definite. Just look at last year’s projections: only three teams were expected to win over 90 games. Yep, three total for both leagues. Instead, seven teams finished with over 90 wins while three alone were in the National League Central. So it becomes very obvious that BP’s projections are a starting point, not a literal interpretation of how the season will actually unfold.

World Series - New York Mets v Kansas City Royals - Game One

Game One of the 2015 World Series-October 27, 2015

Predictions are different than projections in that predictions are purely one person’s opinion. Projections you can actually go back and check the numbers and see how you ended up with the finished results. It’s like when you would show your math homework; if your answer is ‘C’, all you have to do is go back and look at ‘A’ and ‘B’ to figure out how you got to your final answer. Predictions are literally just guesses. Granted, these predictions hold more weight when it is a respected baseball analyst, but at the end of the day they are still guesses. I respect the hell out of guys like Ken Rosenthal and Jayson Stark, and both of them are around the game every day and are about as knowledgeable as they come in the game. But…their predictions are still just guesses. So why are fans, most notably Royals fans, getting upset that someone essentially has a different opinion than they do?

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This is where I laugh at the fan who gets visibly angry that analyst ‘x’ predicted that the Royals won’t get to the playoffs or that they won’t compete at the level they did the year before. To me, all predictions are guesses and more than anything are done for fun. Most analysts(yes, the Rosenthal’s, Stark’s and Gammon’s of the world) would even tell you their guesses are normally way off. So if we all acknowledge the fact that predictions shouldn’t be taken super serious, why do some fans get all worked up about it? The only logical answer is that they want an analyst(or you or me) to agree with them. There seems to be some underlying issue with people who view something like preseason predictions as the expected result and the end all be all of final answers. They are not. If anything, these last couple seasons have proved that with the way the Royals have gone out there and over-exceeded results. I couldn’t tell you if Kansas City used such “guesses” as bulletin board fodder or not, but I’m sure they were aware and promptly did what every other team did: go out and play the games.

MLB: JUL 22 Orioles at Royals

July 22 2013

At the end of the day, that is what it all comes down to; actually playing the games. You see, we can estimate what someone like Alex Gordon will do, and we might even be closely accurate, but the players have to go out there and actually play on the field. I am proud to say I absolutely love stats and I freely will admit to being a ‘stat nerd’, but I also realize that these are humans that go out there and play baseball. I say let all the ‘experts’ predict and project that the Royals won’t do this, or won’t do that. Let them say that they don’t hit enough home runs or make too much contact. Because if we have learned anything these last two years, it’s that this Royals team determines their own fate. The unpredictable is almost the norm for this team and that can’t be predicted. So remember that when more projections and predictions pop up soon; the numbers unfortunately can’t measure a player’s heart or will. It can’t predict a five run 8th inning or a mad dash to home with two outs. It can’t measure a team that has an out of this world defense and a cyborg for their closer. Love the numbers, but realize that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

 

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Spring Training is just around the corner, and there are always a few things you can count on. There is always that one player who is in “the best shape of his life”. Yep, you know the player; he’s the guy trying to bounce back from a down season and looking to put up career high numbers. Then there is the player who would conceivably be in “the worse shape of his life”. That player normally looks he spent all offseason on the couch watching Homer Simpson’s genius plan to be able to work from home by gaining as much weight as humanly possible. This role is normally reserved for Pablo Sandoval(sorry, Panda). Then there is the third type of player at Spring Training, the non-roster invitee who tries to slide into camp inconspicuously while hopefully walking away with an Opening Day spot on the 25 man roster. Most don’t, but there are always a few who make their case and wiggle their way up north. Headed into Spring Training there are a few of these players that will be in Kansas City Royals camp, looking to impress the Royals coaching staff and procuring a job. In fact, there are three in particular who will be vying for a spot that seem to have an outside chance of making the club. So who are these mystery men? Let’s start with a former New York Met looking to wear Royal blue come April.

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Dillon Gee will be entering his age 30 season, coming off of an injury riddled 2015 campaign with the Mets. In fact, Gee only appeared in 8 games last year, partially due to a groin injury and partially because the Mets were loaded with a bunch of young power arms(see Syndergaard, Noah or deGrom, Jacob). Plus, Gee didn’t help his own cause by getting bombed in the few starts he was given in 2015. The positive is that Gee is a serviceable arm, one that most major league teams would use as insurance at AAA until he is needed. In other words, there is a good chance Gee will be the 2016 version of Joe Blanton, who turned in a good season for the Royals and Pirates last year, netting him a deal with the Dodgers. Gee won’t overpower you with his fastball(he averaged about 89 mph in 2015)but he knows how to get outs and if paired with the Royals defense he would probably put up some pretty solid numbers. That being said, if Gee gets 8-10 starts for the Royals, someone is either injured or something has gone horribly wrong. I like Dillon Gee as insurance at Omaha, but his chances this spring hinge on the health of the other candidates in the rotation. So unless chicken pox arises in the Royals clubhouse again, it’s a safe bet Gee will be AAA to start the year.

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Peter Moylan’s chances of starting the year at Kauffman Stadium are better than Gee’s, but still a bit of an uphill battle for the 37 year old reliever. Age will be a factor for Moylan, although he has never been a guy who relied on his fastball and with his sidearm delivery his whole success is based more off of movement than velocity. Moylan was actually able to come back from a second Tommy John surgery in 2015, although the Braves initially intended him to be a coach in their low minors. Instead, the Braves stumbled and used Moylan out of the pen in September to positive results. For one, he didn’t walk anyone in the 10+ innings he threw, and was able to induce groundballs at a fairly high rate(69%), which we all know is a positive in Kansas City. He also was able to get some movement back on his sinker, which is a major plus for a guy who won’t blow pitches by batters. The Royals bullpen is loaded right now(as we all know), but there is always a chance Moylan could find his way to Kansas City. Louis Coleman was released on Wednesday, giving Moylan one less reliever to fight with for a spot in the pen. Moylan is also good friends with Royals starter Kris Medlen, as the pair were former teammates in Atlanta back in the day. I would say Moylan’s chances of making the team are slim, but did anyone predict he would have the career he has had so far? In other words, there is always a chance.

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Then there is Travis Snider. Snider was signed to a minor league deal over this past weekend and is the definition of living off of potential. Snider was once a 1st round draft pick of the Blue Jays back in 2006 and ten years later the baseball world is still expecting him to prove he can be as good as once expected. Over his 8 year career, Snider has performed below league average(93 career OPS+, league average is 100) and has not hit the way scouts once expected him to. There are positives with Snider, like the fact that he is going into only his age 28 season and he isn’t too far off from his career best year in the majors(2014). Looking back at that 2014 campaign, Snider played in 140 games for the Pirates with a line of .264/.338/.438, producing an OPS+ of 117 and a WAR of 2.1. Snider fell back this past season, splitting time in Baltimore and Pittsburgh. The other positive for Snider is that the Royals are currently looking at a Jarrod Dyson/Paulo Orlando platoon in right field, so there is a lot of room for someone to step up and make Royals management take notice. The argument could even be made that if Snider showed an ability to get on base on a regular basis he would get a decent amount of playing time. The Royals at this point know what they are getting with Dyson and Orlando; Snider is the wild card that has the ability to open some eyes. There is a good chance Snider could make the opening day roster as backup outfielder and work his way to a good chunk of at bats. I don’t know if Snider will ever turn into a .300 hitter or a 20 home run guy, but a reliable bat who can get on base could work just as well when it comes to playing time.I have to say, Snider’s chances are good this spring but like most things, I am basing this off potential.

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There aren’t many spots available on the Royals roster as we head into Spring Training, but just look at last year. Ryan Madson came into camp as a guy who hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2011 and ended up not only making the roster, but being a reliable cog in the pen for the entire 2015 season. A few spots are open for the taking, and any of the three names mentioned above could sneak their way onto the team. That’s the great thing about spring; hope springs eternal, even for grizzled veterans. Even if they don’t, the Royals will have depth which is always a coveted part of any winning team. These signings are proof that the Royals roster will be just as deep in 2016 as it was during their run to a world championship.

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Earlier today I did a quick ‘Q & A’ with former Kansas City Star Royals beat writer, Andy McCullough. Andy covered the Royals during both the 2014 and 2015 seasons so he was around for their playoff runs during both years. This is just a quick few questions about his time in Kansas City and covering the team during their resurgence.

1. You went from covering the Mets & the Yankees to covering the Royals for the Kansas City Star in 2014. What was your opinion of the team(contenders, pretenders, etc.) headed into Spring Training that year & in your mind when was the point where the team seemed to shift from just playoff contenders to serious championship material?

I thought they would be a good team and compete for the division. The turning point during the postseason was after they won the Wild Card game.

2. What was it like going from big market teams like the Yankees & Mets to a small market team like the Royals? Was there a difference in how you covered the teams?

The biggest difference is the postgame interviews were shorter because you don’t have 15 people in the scrum, all asking questions. I did not cover the team any differently.

3. The Royals fanbase is quite rabid to say the least. Were you surprised at how passionate the fans were & how did you handle some of the crazier ones on Twitter?

I wasn’t surprised by the passion, but I was definitely impressed by the crowds during these past two postseasons. Great atmosphere. I muted or blocked a lot of dopes on Twitter.

4. Was there a major difference in the team when comparing Spring Training in 2014 & Spring Training this past year?

Teams sound confident, every single year, in spring training. In 2014, I suppose it appeared more like false bravado, because they hadn’t actually won anything yet. In 2015, they had some evidence to back up their confidence.

5. The two most memorable articles you wrote(in my mind) was the recap of the 2014 Wild Card game & the Lorenzo Cain piece. Did you feel it was fairly easy to find compelling stories for this team & do you think you’ll ever cover a team with as much material as the 2014-2015  Royals had? 

There was a lot of untilled ground when I took over the beat in 2014, because the team hadn’t spent much time in the national spotlight. It’s never easy to find interesting stories, but there was certainly some low-hanging fruit. I hope I’ll find a team that’s just as compelling soon enough, but I’m not sure I will.

6. Finally, looking back how do you view your time in Kansas City?

It was an OK time. Underrated city for Vietnamese food.

7. Oh, one more question for old times sake: any word on Kyle Zimmer?

I hope he starts the All-Star Game in 2017.   

I would like to thank Andy for taking the time to answer these questions. McCullough is now working for the LA Times, as he is their beat writer for the Dodgers. You can find Andy’s coverage of the Dodgers at LATimes.com and he is a great follow on Twitter. Sure, he covers the Dodgers now, but if you love baseball(and some humor), McCullough is a good follow no matter the team. Glad us Royals fans had McCullough to guide us through the last two years. He did a great job and in a lot of ways will always be connected to this team. Thanks, Andy.

 

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Sometimes things are so inevitable that they will happen no matter the circumstances. For the last week plus we have heard about the Kansas City Royals interest in free agent righty Ian Kennedy and on Saturday morning they pulled the trigger on a 5 year, $70 million dollar deal.

The deal does have an opt out after year two(appears to be a player option) which would be after the 2017 season, where the Royals would already have Wade Davis, Lorenzo Cain, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas and Alcides Escobar possibly eligible for free agency. This obviously means the Royals are taking advantage of the two year window in front of them and adding another arm to the rotation was at the top of the list for General Manager Dayton Moore. There are a number of immediate questions about Kennedy(as well as some positives), but first let’s give you an idea of just who Ian Kennedy really is.

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Ian Kennedy is going into his 31 year old season as a former big time prospect in the New York Yankees organization who has toiled in the majors since 2007. His best season to date is the 2011 campaign, where he went 21-4 for the Diamondbacks, striking out 8.03 batters per 9, a 2.88 ERA, an ERA+ of 137 and 4.8 WAR. Unfortunately, that 2011 season seems to be the outlier of Kennedy’s career, as he has been a fairly mediocre starter throughout his time in the big leagues, including three straight seasons of being a below average pitcher from 2013-2015. That being said, there are plusses and minuses to the signing.

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Let’s start with the giant pink elephant in the room: home runs. Last year, Kennedy gave up 31 home runs, 19 in his home field of Petco Park. Yes, the Petco park that is considered a major pitchers park. For whatever reason, balls flew out of that place at a higher rate last year, and Kennedy and former Padres teammate James Shields paid the price for the increase. In fact, Kennedy allowed home runs on 17% of his fly balls in 2015, only toppled by Shields and Kyle Kendrick, with a difference of only less than half of one percentage point. Yes, it appeared that balls flew out of Petco last year, but giving up that many home runs is still a blemish on the stat board and has to be taken into consideration. It appears that the Royals scouts and front office believe that playing in Kauffman Stadium, which has a low home run rate, plus adding in the Royals stellar defense in the outfield will help Kennedy with some of those fly balls. It’s possible…but as this chart shows, maybe not as much as we would hope:

What the graph shows is that if you took those 31 home runs and moved them to Kauffman, 3/4 of them would still leave the park. Add in that Kennedy won’t be starting all of his games in Kansas City, and…well, you can see why there is some worry.

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Now, I feel like I can’t paint the ‘Ian Kennedy picture’ without mentioning some of the positives. For one, his K/9 rate the last has been above 8 for three straight seasons and has been sitting at a steady 9.3 for the last two. The guy has noticed an uptick in his velocity and it has shown in his strikeout numbers. But the increase in velocity has also accounted for a high hard-hit rate, which normally means a low soft-hit rate. In fact, Kennedy has not a hard-hit % below 30% since…you guessed it, that great 2011 season. In other words, when batters do make contact off of Kennedy, they are getting good wood on the ball. That makes it harder to keep the scoring down and also hurts the chances of a pitcher pitching deeper into the game. Last year, Kennedy averaged 5.6 innings per start, but over his career he has been a workhouse. Since 2010, the lowest amount of innings Kennedy has accumulated is 168 in 2015, while in that span he has had three seasons over 200 innings(and one at 194). So Kennedy will give you innings, which has long been a goal of Moore when he acquires starting pitchers.

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Also, his walk rate went down this past year, down to 2.78 after hovering in the 3’s for the previous two years. So you have a guy who has increased his strikeout rate while lowering his walk rate, which is a plus for any starter in the majors. Kennedy also seemed to improve his statistics in June of last year, possibly due to a shift on the pitching rubber:

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The picture on the left is from his last start, the one on the right is from his first start in June. As you can tell, he went from throwing on the 3rd base side of the rubber to the 1st base side. There was a noticeable improvement, as his home runs dipped down and his OPS allowed improved by almost 200 points. I’m sure all of this will be digested by Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland, who within himself is a big part of this puzzle. You see, Kennedy is not a stranger to Eiland:

Eiland was the pitching coach for the Yankees when Kennedy made it to the big leagues so Eiland is familiar with him not only from then but back when he had success during his days as a prospect in the New York system. One has to think a big part of Kansas City feeling so confident in giving him this big contract was having Eiland in their back pocket to guide him back to success. Eiland has shown over the years to have a knack of turning questionable pitchers into solid starters by just tweaking the most subtle of things. All you have to look at is Jeremy Guthrie time in Kansas City(before 2015) and most recently Edinson Volquez. If anyone can turn Kennedy around, it would be Eiland.

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There is one more positive to the this signing, and that would be durability. Kennedy has been lucky so far in his career and hasn’t had a major arm injury. In fact, Kennedy spent a little bit of time on the disable list last year, but it was for a hamstring strain. Kennedy has been healthy enough to make at least 30 starts in all 6 of his seasons as a regular. Add in the innings totals and at the very least you have a starter that you can count on to take the mound once every five games. Anymore, that is a major victory within itself in this game.

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So where do I stand? This is an odd signing in that I am not totally for sure how I feel. I like that the Royals seem to have signed a durable starter who can log some innings for the team before turning it over to the pen. There were times this past season where the starters went four or five innings and were done for the day. I’m not a big fan of a five year deal, but there is the opt out clause after year two, so hopefully Kennedy takes that and the Royals don’t get stuck with the last three years of the contract. For me it’s not even about Kennedy as much as I don’t like giving any pitcher a long-term deal, not with how easy it is to get arm injuries in this day and age. Over his career Kennedy has been about a league average pitcher and I have a feeling that is what Kansas City will get from him this year. I think there will be times he looks really good on the hill, and I think there will be times those hard hit fly balls will leave the playing field. Steamer projections are predicting Kennedy to make 31 starts, logging 182 innings with an ERA of 3.90, an FIP of 4.02 and 2.2 WAR. Honestly, I would take that and would even applaud that kind of season. The best part of the signing is that the Royals showed a willingness to spend money and give them as good a chance as any to keep a contending baseball team on the field. The last few years, Dayton Moore has shown an ability to make questionable acquisitions and have them turn to gold(paging Morales, Kendrys). At this point, if Dayton likes this move than I am on board. I just hope the ride isn’t too bumpy.

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There really has been only one topic on the minds of anyone who follows the Kansas City Royals: will Alex Gordon re-sign with Kansas City and continue to be the pillar of this championship Royals team? After months of speculation(and worry that he would leave) we found out on Wednesday that Gordon was staying with the only major league team he has ever known, signing a 4 year, $72 million dollar contract with an option for a 5th year. So how does that deal break down?

It’s interesting to see that Gordon will actually be making less this upcoming season than he made in 2015, but it is not surprising to see the contract back-loaded with a mutual option(seriously, Dayton loves those mutual options) in year five. So what does this mean for the Royals moving forward?

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Financially, Gordon’s contract gives the team flexibility not only for this year(after expected arbitration raises and probably the signing of another starting pitcher, the team’s payroll will probably be above $120 million, which really isn’t a giant increase from 2015), but also 2017. Why those two years? The main core of this Kansas City team will be intact for at least the next two years, so the Royals chances of continuing to reach the postseason is greater now for those two years. A smaller deal for Gordon helps out the rest of that payroll and could very well impact the team if they try to make another big deal in July if so be it. Now his contract goes up in years 3 and 4 of the deal, but I would say there is a good chance that by then this contract won’t look as imposing when you look at the influx of money within the game of baseball right now. Add in that the Royals should be able to restructure their TV deal around 2018 and the Royals could be playing with even more money than they have right now. Obviously the big part of this deal is that it gives GM Dayton Moore more wiggle room to help get the pieces needed to keep this team a contender through 2017, which will then see Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Wade Davis and Alcides Escobar become free agents.

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The signing also means the chances of Kansas City taking advantage of their window have improved with the return of Gordon. Realistically, the Royals have the next two seasons to take advantage of their current core players and have a better chance of reaching the playoffs again with Gordon in tow. I am of the belief that without Gordon’s return, the chances of Kansas City returning to October baseball would have been much harder to accomplish, where as now they return the “backbone” of the team. About a month ago I went into deep detail on why the Royals should bring back Alex and it seems obvious when I say this team is better with Alex roaming left field for the next four years. To me, I wouldn’t even worry too much about 2018 and instead focus on the here and now. If the Royals reach the postseason the next two years(or even one of the two), that means more people coming to the ballpark, meaning more money coming into the team. To me, that extra money could be used on whatever the game plan is for after the 2017 season, which could be to re-sign a Cain or a Hosmer(I know, he is a Boras client so the likelihood is not very high) or go out and revamp the team. Either way, giving the Royals the best chance possible to win now helps the organization in the future as well. Keeping Gordon in the fold helps in that regard.

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Speaking of the core Royals group, I also felt like Gordon was the best choice for a long-term deal out of that group mentioned earlier. Hosmer and Moustakas are almost completely off the table since they are Scott Boras clients and he will always tell his clients to take the deal that will make them the most money. I love Wade Davis but he is a reliever and you should never give a reliever a long-term deal(unless his last name is Rivera). That leaves Cain and Escobar, who will both be in their low 30’s at this point. I love both guys but Cain has a long injury history and a big part of Escobar’s game(speed) will have started to regress at this point which makes a long-term deal seem iffy. To me, Gordon will regress the best out of this bunch and will probably come close to his expected production over the next couple years that will make his deal worth the money that was spent. In fact Craig Brown of Royals Authority took a look at just that the other day, taking a look at his Steamer & ZiPS projections over the course of the deal and putting that up against his earnings during those years. I feel you can also throw in what he means to that clubhouse, as many a teammate has referred to Gordon as the “backbone” of the team. He isn’t the rah-rah team leader, but that is why they have Salvador Perez. Gordon is the quiet one who leads by example and it is normally a “balls to the wall” type example that he plays by for them to follow.

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Concerns? There are always concerns when signing a player to a deal of this size, and most of them are health related. Gordon missed some time this year due to a couple injuries, a wrist injury that limited him when the season began and a groin injury that left him out of action for August and a good chunk of July. But since Gordon made the move to left field full-time in 2011, he had played at least 150 games in all of those years before this past year. I tend to feel like the injury is an outlier for Alex, but it’s easy to see how an injury could happen to him with his “reckless abandon” style of play out on the field. We all saw what happened to Mike Sweeney late in his career, but knowing how Gordon is a health nut and his insane work-out routine, I think there is a better chance of Alex staying healthy than spending the majority of his time on the disabled list. Will he regress? Of course he will. ‘Father Time’ always wins that battle. But once again, Gordon takes good care of his body, so the belief is that his regression won’t be as steep as it normally is for others.

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To me it always made the most sense to bring back Gordon to the only major league team he has ever known. Gordon is beloved in Kansas City and it was the team he grew up rooting for. It only made sense for the present and the future to make sure Alex remained in Royal blue. As a fan, I was very biased on this all along. As a kid my favorite player was George Brett and would stop whatever I was doing once Brett came up to the plate. I loved the way Brett played and it became a model for me to judge other players by. As an adult, Alex Gordon is in that same pantheon for me. He is my favorite player on this Royals team and the thought of him wearing another team’s jersey was tough to stomach. Knowing now that he is locked up makes me feel better about the future of the Royals as he is the constant everyone can rely on. Alex now has four years to further cement his legacy and a deeper place into the history of the Kansas City Royals. It seems like a lock now that Gordon will one day get a statue near the fountains at Kauffman Stadium. Honestly, I can’t think of a current player more deserving than ‘#4’.