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Royals hit new low; demote Gordon to Triple-A

Aug 18, 2009, 4:21 PM EST

In what looks like one of the most shameful service-time manipulations in baseball history, the Royals demoted Alex Gordon to Triple-A on Tuesday to make room for Kyle Farnsworth on the roster.
Ready or not, Gordon, with just one season as pro under his belt, was rushed from Double-A to the majors to begin 2007. The team stuck with him then despite some ugly results, and the only times he had returned to the minors since was on rehab assignments. Of course, that meant he’d have three years of service time at the end of this year, leaving him on track to become a free agent after 2012. Now the Royals can push that back until 2013 if they wait at least 20 days to recall him.
Gordon has hit .198/.300/.313 in his 29 games this season, so we won’t see a grievance here. If it were May, it’d be a perfectly legitimate move. But it’s August 18. There are three weeks left in the minor league season. The Royals aren’t playing for anything at all, and they should want Gordon to get every major league at-bat his surgically repaired hip can handle. Instead, they’re going to have him work with inferior coaches and get pitched around by Triple-A pitchers. When Gordon was on his rehab assignment before returning last month, he batted .350/.491/.650 with three homers in 40 at-bats. Hitting minor league pitching isn’t an issue.
If the Royals follow through with this and cost Gordon a year of service time, then they’ll still control him in 2013, when he’ll likely be a much better player than he is now. But that’s something they should have thought about in 2007. To pull this stunt in Aug. 2009 would seem to make it significantly less likely that he’ll still be playing in Kansas City in 2014. Gordon has little reason to forget and forgive.

  1. J.R. - Aug 18, 2009 at 5:47 PM

    Of course, if Gordon is any good before 2014, he’ll undoubtedly be leaving KC for greener pastures, anyway, no matter how they treat him now, and I’m sure KC is well aware of this.

  2. John A. Baker - Aug 18, 2009 at 6:51 PM

    noone stays w/ K.C. anyway if they are a good and a free agent. They refuse to spend the revenue dollars they get from the Yanks,Mets, Red Sox,etc. on retaining players so they can present a good product to their fans.

  3. Paul - Aug 18, 2009 at 8:22 PM

    John, you know nothing. The Royals have significantly increased their payroll the last two years, overspent to attract free agents to come to KC, and outspent all the teams you mentioned in last year and this years drafts. Pay attention. Regarding Gordon- he’s shown he’s not ready for ML pitching. He has this huge arching swing and lets his hand fly off way too early. AAA is where he should be. The only thing that can be said is that he was brought up too early. I think Evan Longoria coming up so quickly and make an instant impact shows what the hope was. No one questions the Rays rushing him up. Sometimes you’re right and sometimes you’re not

  4. TCG - Aug 18, 2009 at 8:33 PM

    John – no one stays with KC? What about Mark Teahan, the “face of the KC Royals,” like being ‘king of the lepers….’

  5. starkweather - Aug 18, 2009 at 8:34 PM

    Are you sure the Royals AAA coaches are inferior to their major league coaches? I am unconvinced.

  6. Chuck - Aug 18, 2009 at 8:48 PM

    Watch a few Royals games before you criticize this move. He hasn’t done anything this year, and still flails away at the sweeping curve ball. Who cares about the timing? If you suck, you suck, and Gordon sucks right now.

  7. Turrdog - Aug 18, 2009 at 8:55 PM

    Not shameful, smart. Gordon probably will be a great player by the time he is eligible for FA, so this move makes all kind of financial and baseball sense. He’ll be getting at bats and will still spend the majority of September call-up time in the bigs. 20 days of putting a future star (hitting .198 people, it’s not like they are sending down Longoria) in AAA for a full year of control. Royals fans should be applauding this move. Sucks for Gordon, but he’s been hurt and hasn’t performed up to his potential yet…

  8. Kevin W. - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:08 PM

    John Baker (nice name by the way), i agree with some of the other posters. You obviously know nothing. Gordon isn’t worth much right now. If he gets better in a few years, Royals will offer him a good contract. Not to mention royals have a hell of a farm system brewing, with Aaron Crow soon, Danny Duffy, Hosmer, Moustakas, and a few other guys.
    We’ve treated Gordon mighty good. We’ve given him chances. This article contradicts itself. It says Kansas City rushed Gordon, yet it says he won’t get any help from minor league coaches, and that he can hit minor league hitting. When those two combine, you call players up, like we did Gordon.
    We had higher expectations for him. At the time he came back we weren’t totally out of it this year. He’s been the biggest disappointment this year other than a few guys in the pen like Cruz. No reason to keep him up any longer. Teahan can play 3rd just fine. So can Callapso and Bloomquist.
    We had expectations for him to do good right out of the draft, which is why we didn’t option him before so we can have him until 2014. He didn’t have that bad of a season last year, and we expected an improvement. It didn’t happen, so there would be no better time than now to do it.
    As you said, we aren’t playing for anything. So he’s no use right now. Let him work on his mechanics and his fielding, and we’ll see him later this year or next year.
    Not to mention we need Farnsworth a little more than him.

  9. Jon - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:23 PM

    I for one am extremely happy that the teams are finally brave enough to take full advantage of the rules that both they and the players agreed to. I have zero sympathy for the players.
    Bravo to the Brewers for setting the precedent with Hardy, and bravo to the Royals for demoting the struggling Gordon. I hope more teams follow suit.
    Then maybe we’ll see a revolt among young players, and they won’t stand for the Union’s rules which favor past-their-prime veterans so much it’s disgusting.
    Great things are happening in baseball. The teams have finally realized that 33 year old below average players are NOT worth $5-10 million a year. And now they are realizing that they can save money on the young players too by playing within the rules that the players set.
    I’m happy.

  10. Home Run Tony Cogan - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:33 PM

    Yeah, as soon as the NY, LA, and Boston d-bags want to commit to full revenue sharing and a fair draft that distributes talent according to need, then teams like KC will stop gaming the system.

  11. greg denney - Aug 18, 2009 at 10:38 PM

    i agree that gordon going down is a good thing. i think they could trade him this winter anyway and that extra year makes that much more valuable.

  12. gumbercules - Aug 18, 2009 at 11:50 PM

    All they’ve (potentially) done is delayed his free agent eligibilty. If he begins to live up to his potential in the next couple of seasons, he’ll still be rewarded via arbitration for his performance. He’ll “get paid” thusly in the 2012 and 2013 seasons as opposed to 2011 and 2012. If he ends up being the “next George Brett”, he’s going to get a big payday. Whether it’s in ’13 or ’14 doesn’t really matter, does it? It’s not like he’s living like a pauper now or anything…

  13. Brent - Aug 19, 2009 at 12:35 AM

    @Kevin W.
    “we need Farnsworth more than him anyway.” what the hell do you need Farnsworth for to finish 18 games out of first in last place? Royals are playing for not a damn thing. Put Gordon in the lineup everyday and make him work the kinks out. Get him some momentum going in to next year when it means something again. That is until May 1st

  14. Lars - Aug 19, 2009 at 5:08 AM

    Sometimes baseball decisions are just that.
    The fact Gordon has taken a step back because of injuries/lack of performance is on him – let’s make him accountable – instead of making excuses.
    MLB teams take care of their ‘face of the franchise’ guys, especially if they are 25 years old or younger.
    If Gordon was remotely the player he was hyped to be, he’d get a Longoria, Braun, Tulowitzki style deal.
    Before lambasting a MLB front office for apparent ineptitude, let us all take a step back from the ledge.

  15. Colin - Aug 19, 2009 at 8:36 AM

    Oh god, why are people trying to read so much into these moves? Why is it so hard to comprehend that JJ Hardy and Alex Gordon are being sent to AAA because they’re bad at baseball, not because their teams are out to get them? Ask a Royals fan if they’re happy with Gordon’s .198/.300/.313 line, or a Brewers fan if they’re satisfied with Hardy hitting .229/.300/.367. Why are these players guaranteed a roster spot no matter what? Why is it, all of a sudden, a shock when a poorly-performing player gets sent to the minors?

  16. DG in KC - Aug 19, 2009 at 9:45 AM

    Pooooooooor Gordo….Mean ol Royals. The tyranny continues in the MLB to the sum of millions. I’ve got an idea. How about Gordon gets his act together comes to the ballpark and produces like an above average player next 2 years. We can worry about how the Royals screwed him over in a couple of years ok? Just another clown pilin’ on the Royals.

  17. Darryl J. - Aug 20, 2009 at 1:25 PM

    Full revenue sharing??? What does that mean, exactly? Why should NY, Boston, LA or any other major market team be penalized any more than they already are?? Because they’re in markets that support the ballclub and they have ownership that is willing to spend to put a good product on the field for those supportive fans??

  18. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    DUDE, WHY DON’T YOU AND THE KC OWNER GO PLAY JUMP ROPE AND HOP SCOTCH WITH GIRLS AND STAY AWAY FORM BASEBALL, THIS WAS A BUSH LEAGUE MIOVE BUT WHAT ELSE CAN YOU EXPECT FROM A MINOR LEAGUE
    TEAM DISGUISED AS A MLB BASEBALL TEAM.THE KC OWNER LOADS HIS POCKETS WITH YANKEES / METS LUXURY TAX MONEY AND REVENUE SHARING
    MONEY INSTEAD OF ADDING TO PAYROLL, THIS IS SHAMEFUL. DG IN KC, IF YOU KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT BASEBALL AND TRULY SUPPORTED YOUR TEAM
    YOU WOULD NOT MAKE PATHETIC AND RIDICULOUS EXCUSES FOR THERE LOWLIFE MOVE, JUST TO HAVE THE KID AROUND FOR A LOW BALL OFFER.
    THIS IS WHY THEY LEAVE AND GO TO THE YANKEES, THIS IS WHY YOU HATE THE YANKEES, STEINBRENNER HAS ALWAYS PUT HIS MONEY INTO THE TEAM HE PUTS ON THE FIELD, EVERY OWNWER OF A MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TEAM SHOULD LINE UP TO KISS GEORGES WORLD SERIES RING AND THANK HIM FOR BUYING THE YANKEES AND HELPING THE LEAGUE GROW AND STOP GRIPING ABOUT THE BIG BAD YANKEES PAYROLL AND THEIR LINEUP OF ALLSTARS, BECAUSE YOU DO NOT COMPLAIN WHEN THEY COME TO TOWN AND SELL OUT THE STADIUM LIKE WHEN PITTSBURG GOT 3 SELLOUTS A FEW YEARS BACK WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME TAHT HAPPEN BACK WHEN RALPH KINER PLAYED. PLEASE THIS IS A PATHETIC MOVE THAT HURTS THE INTEGRITY OF THE GAME, THIS IS NOT RIGHT.

  19. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 3:54 PM

    NO PAUL YOU KNOW NOTHING! JOHN, YOU HAVE HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD

  20. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 3:57 PM

    THE KC TEAM SHOULD BE DROPPED TO THE AA LEVEL, THAT REPRESENTS
    THE PAYROLL LEVEL OF THE TEAM THEY BUILD.

  21. HOTROD - Aug 21, 2009 at 3:59 PM

    YOU ARE WHAT YOUR RECORD SAYS YOU ARE
    BILL PARCELLS

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