The free agent outfielder market should start moving now that Alex Gordon is no longer available.
Alex Gordon returned to Kansas City on Wednesday. Gordon officially signed a four-year, $72 million contract with a mutual option for a fifth year. Gordon met with the Kansas City media Wednesday to announce he re-signed with the only organization he’s known.
According to Jon Heyman, Gordon will receive $12 million in 2016, $16 million in 2017 and $20 million in 2018 and 2019. The mutual option in 2020 is for $23 million and includes a $4 million buyout. Gordon did not receive a no-trade clause in his contract. Gordon will have 10 and 5 rights soon (8.092 service time). Heyman said if Gordon is dealt, the option is voided and “converts to a $4 million trade bonus.”
Gordon signed a contract that gives the Royals flexibility to make other moves according to Ken Rosenthal.
Several teams, including the Cubs, Giants and Angels, were connected rather heavily to Gordon this off-season. The Cardinals appeared to be a fit for Gordon, but according to Jerry Crasnick they did not make a “huge push” to sign him. With Matt Holliday in left field, the Cardinals did not think he was an option for right field, even for one year. And the White Sox, who were very interested in Gordon, would not go to four years on a contract to sign him.
The free agent market remains saturated with quality outfielders such as Yoenis Cespedes, Justin Upton, Dexter Fowler, Denard Span, Gerardo Parra, Steve Pearce and David Murphy. Plus, there are several outfielders available like Marcell Ozuna, Jay Bruce, Carlos Gonzalez, Charlie Blackmon and Corey Dickerson in the right deal. And the outfielders available on the trade market could work against Dexter Fowler.
And Fowler lost a possible destination Wednesday when Gordon re-signed with the Royals. Jon Heyman reported late Tuesday that Dexter Fowler was on the Royals radar, along with Gerardo Parra, Denard Span and David Murphy as fall back options if Gordon picked another team.
Here’s an update on all the outfield rumors that surfaced Wednesday …
Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton
Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton are the two biggest free agent outfielders still on the market. Cespedes and Upton could sign soon and ink a contract for between three and five years with an AAV of between $18-20 million according to Bruce Levine.
• Bruce Levine reported the White Sox pursuit of Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes “could be held up by the Chris Davis talks.” The Orioles would like to re-sign Davis but could turn their attention to Upton or Cespedes if Davis signs elsewhere.
• The Orioles have “been in talks with reps for Yoenis Cespedes, who is looking for a landing spot” according to Buster Olney. Baltimore is also interested in Upton and “have money to spend.”
• According to Ken Rosenthal, the Orioles like Justin Upton but “it’s unclear whether they truly want him or Cespedes.” Rosenthal did not rule out the Orioles interest in Upton and Cespedes being just a ploy in the negotiations with Chris Davis.
• The Rangers are interested in Justin Upton according to Ken Rosenthal but on a one-year contract. The Rangers have budget issues. Rosenthal explained that Upton “plans to keep exploring the market, seeking longer deal.”
• According to Jon Paul Morosi, the Giants are interested in both Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes. San Francisco would prefer to sign an outfielder that can play center which would make Cespedes a better fit than Upton.
The Marcell Ozuna rumors kicked in high gear on Wednesday after being rather quiet for the last month. The Cubs were loosely connected to the Marlins and Ozuna this off-season. The Cubs would not be able to matchup on a trade for him based on the Marlins’ asking price. Plus, according to Joe Frisaro, the Marlins “would need to be blown away to move him.”
• According to Jeff Passan, the Marlins have talked with multiple teams about Ozuna “including one West Coast team recently.”
• Joe Frisaro reported teams reached out to the Marlins about Marcell Ozuna. Teams that were interested in signing Alex Gordon view Ozuna as a more affordable alternative to signing either Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes.
• During the Winter Meetings, at least 10 teams showed interest in Ozuna. Joe Frisaro explained the Marlins have a plan in place to move Christian Yelich to center field and Derek Dietrich would play left if Ozuna is traded.
• The Marlins and Rangers have discussed a deal that would send Ozuna to Texas for Chi Chi Gonzalez “and perhaps another piece” according to Clark Spencer.
• According to Ken Rosenthal, talks between the Marlins and Rangers in a deal that would include Marcell Ozuna have been “on and off for the past month, have yet to significantly advance.” The Rangers are looking to add pitching, not subtract it in a trade for Ozuna. Rosenthal explained the Rangers “could acquire another starting pitcher then trade Chi Chi Gonzalez for Ozuna, problem is that Texas lacks flexibility to increase payroll.”
Denard Span is scheduled to work out for teams but he could sign “very soon” according to Chris Cotillo. Span’s market “is murky at this point.” The Nationals and Orioles are among the teams interested in Span. Scott Boras is looking for a multi-year contract for his client.
The Cubs are believed to be one of the teams interested in Span, but it would likely take the front office trading Jorge Soler to create a spot for him in center field.