KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Yes, the Kansas City Royals are interested in locking up outfielder Alex Gordon, their player of the year in 2011, to a long-term deal.
It just might not happen as quickly as some fans might hope.
Royals general manager Dayton Moore said by phone Tuesday that the Royals’ first priority likely will be to get Gordon signed to a one-year deal before his arbitration date of Feb. 16.
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“We’re trying to find common ground on a one-year deal with the mindset that we will work toward a long-term deal at some point,” Moore said. “We have a commonality in regards to (a long-term deal). We certainly want Alex here long term, and Alex has expressed that, as well.
“But it’s hard to pinpoint exactly when that will happen.”
Both sides have submitted salary figures in the event a deal isn’t worked out before the arbitration hearing: Gordon’s camp came in at $5.45 million, and the Royals countered at $4.15 million.
No Royals player has had to go through an arbitration hearing since Moore became the general manager in 2006. Arbitration hearings, at least in the past, have been known to cause bitter feelings from the players because of the contentious nature of the arguments.
“The hearings aren’t quite as bad as they were maybe 10 years ago,” Moore said. “Also, I think players are more able to look at it from a business standpoint now and don’t take it as personal. Maybe that’s because of the 24-hour news cycle and the fact that there are more opinions out there, some of which can be pretty harsh. We all have gotten a little tougher skin.
“My point being, the hearings aren’t as bad between player and club as it used to be. The end result isn’t as damaging.”
Still, it is Moore’s desire to get a deal done, at least a one-year deal, before the hearing date.
“I would agree with that,” he said.
Gordon expressed the same desire during the Royals Awards Luncheon last month.
“No one wants to go to a hearing,” Gordon said. “I think something is gonna get done (before that).”
The Royals don’t necessarily have to be in a hurry to get Gordon locked in long term. They have contractual rights to him through 2013.
There also could be some concern from the club’s standpoint as to whether Gordon’s overall body of work merits urgency toward a long-term deal. Granted, Gordon is coming off a phenomenal year, but it is, after all, only one year.
It might be prudent for the Royals to take a little longer look at Gordon, at least partly through 2012, before committing long term.
“That’s probably the right way to look at it,” Moore said. “But I will say that from a scouting standpoint, we feel Alex has a lot of productive years ahead of him.
“It (a long-term deal) is something we will continue to review. Hopefully, it happens sooner rather than later. But I know from experience these things can be very unpredictable. Every situation is unique.”
Moore also indicated he doesn’t anticipate any major moves before spring training.
“I think we’ll go forward with what we have,” he said. “It’s a good group. It’s a young group that still needs to learn how to win. But I do think we will win more games than we did last year. It’s an eager group.”