KANSAS CITY -- Last August inside the White Sox visiting clubhouse, Royals outfielder Alex Gordon, the face of the franchise, said he was at least pondering retirement for the first time in his career.
But Gordon’s stunning and impressive start to the 2019 season now has him wondering, and perhaps leaning, toward playing again in 2020.
“My wife (Jamie) always asks me that and I’m just like, ‘I don’t know,’” Gordon told MLB.com. “There are a lot of things that will come into play when it comes to that decision.
“I give her percentages. At the beginning of the year, I gave her 50-50. Then I moved to 55-45. Now I’m at about 60-40 (on playing again).”
Gordon’s four-year, $72 million contract essentially comes to an end after this season. There is a $23 million mutual option for 2020 that the Royals certainly will decline. And there is a $4 million buyout.
But Gordon, 35, would have incentive emotionally to keep playing, mainly because he is playing at a high level. He won his sixth Gold Glove in 2018. And he has enjoyed a renaissance offensively that started late last season when he switched to a more upright, athletic stance in the batter’s box.
During the team’s final 33 games of 2018, Gordon led the team with 22 RBIs. He also hit 10 doubles and four home runs, and posted a respectable .788 OPS.
And Gordon’s resurgence offensively transitioned right into 2019. Gordon is hitting .289 with eight homers and 33 RBIs with an astonishing .904 OPS. He is on pace for more than 30 homers and 130 RBIs.
Anyone remotely close to the Royals knows that general manager Dayton Moore holds Gordon in the highest regard, and views him as the epitome of a Royals player in terms of work ethic, performance and personal conduct.
But Moore obviously has more pressing matters on his mind other than Gordon’s immediate future.
“We’re trying to win games now,” Moore said. “We’ll address any of those other situations when the time is appropriate.”
But internally, the Royals obviously are at least curious about Gordon’s future.
Royals manager Ned Yost, when discussing recently that the future for Jorge Soler may be in left field, notably didn’t mention that Soler could be in left field in 2020.
“(Soler’s) probably going to move to left field (at some point),” Yost said. “Two years (from now), three years maybe. You want to continue to develop (Soler) as an outfielder.”
Interestingly, too, is what might happen with Gordon at the Trade Deadline. A recent poll by MLB.com revealed that numerous baseball executives and general managers around baseball considered Gordon possible trade bait.
But the reality is that there is almost a zero percent chance Gordon will be dealt, primarily because as a 10-5 guy, Gordon can veto any deal. And Gordon has no interest in playing for another team.
“I don’t want to play anywhere else,” Gordon said. “Yeah, I want to retire as a Royal. I’ve established my family here with my kids. This is home.
“We’ll see how (next year) plays out. But do I feel I can still play? Yeah, I can still play.
“I will say that when it comes to that decision, I will be happy either way. I’ll be happy if I’m done. I’ve enjoyed my career and what I’ve done. Either way I’ll be happy. But I know I can still play.”