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Gordon staying with Royals on 1-year deal

@FlannyMLB
January 22, 2020

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals and Alex Gordon on Wednesday agreed on a one-year contract that will bring the veteran outfielder back for the 2020 season. Per a source, the deal is worth $4 million with performance-bonus incentives. “He is one of the most driven players in the game today,”

KANSAS CITY -- The Royals and Alex Gordon on Wednesday agreed on a one-year contract that will bring the veteran outfielder back for the 2020 season. Per a source, the deal is worth $4 million with performance-bonus incentives.

“He is one of the most driven players in the game today,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told MLB.com. “He represents everything the league wants in a player. He can still play at a high level, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win. He is the player that everyone strives to be.”

Gordon, who turns 36 next month, told MLB.com he will be present for a news conference at Friday’s Royals FanFest.

In 2019, Gordon hit .266 with 13 home runs and 76 RBIs -- his highest RBI total since '13. He played in 150 games and recorded 633 plate appearances, his highest totals since '14. Gordon also won his seventh Gold Glove Award.

Gordon will return to patrol left field, while Whit Merrifield will take over in center and Hunter Dozier will play right because of the signing of free-agent third baseman Maikel Franco.

The Royals, though, seem likely to go a bit easier on Gordon's playing time in order to give opportunities to Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips, both of whom are out of options.

Gordon is a three-time All-Star, and in 2014, he won the American League Platinum Glove Award as the best defensive outfielder.

“As I mentioned, he can still play at a very high level,” Moore said.

Sources indicate that Gordon also has waived his 10-and-5 rights, and he would get a $500,000 assignment bonus if traded.

Moore, though, downplayed that possibility.

“I don’t think this is a situation where Alex feels like this is his last year,” Moore said. “He is very competitive and he wants to win, above all else. But I don’t think [trading him] is something we have even considered. We are hoping to be much more competitive this season.”

Royals players were excited about Gordon’s return.

“We are thrilled to have Gordo back,” Dozier told MLB.com. “He’s the leader of our clubhouse, and it’s really important to have guys like him around when you have a young team like we do.”

Added Merrifield, whose locker is next to Gordon's: “I can’t tell you how excited we are to have Gordo back. Probably the second-greatest player to ever wear a Royals uniform. What he means to this team and this city goes beyond numbers. He instantly makes any team better, and I’m so pumped we got him back.”

Gordon told MLB.com last May that he was “60-40” on returning to the Royals in 2020.

Then after winning the Gold Glove Award in November, Gordon told reporters in a conference call that after listening to manager Mike Matheny’s introductory press conference, he was having the itch to come back.

Gordon signed a four-year, $72 million deal in January 2016, the richest contract awarded to a Royal. He had a $4 million buyout on his mutual option for '20, though $500,000 was paid on that during the season so the final figure became $3.5 million.

To make room for Gordon on the 40-man roster, the Royals designated for assignment right-hander Heath Fillmyer. There’s a decent chance they will re-sign him to a Minor League deal.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.