Each White Sox outfield target as a Christmas gift
Alex Gordon: The Used Hugo Boss Suit
May 20, 2015; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) makes a leaping catch against the Cincinnati Reds Todd Frazier (not pictured) during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Alex Gordon is a used Hugo Boss suit. It belongs to your older brother, one that’s been a little more successful than you recently.
It’s been worn to the World Series of board meetings and now it’s your turn to put it on.
At one time it was the best suit in the business, particularly when it hit 51 doubles in 2012, and made three all-star games thereafter.
It’s got a golden tie, courtesy of four Gold-Glove awards.
However you choose to spin it, the thing is still a top-notch addition to your wardrobe. It’s just a little…worn.
Alex Gordon is a great piece, but he has his various tears. Most significantly, a strained groin sidelined him for eight weeks in 2015.
He performed decently upon his return, but wasn’t the .851 OPS guy he’d been before the injury.
There’s plenty of reason to believe Gordon can be that guy again in 2016, but the injury is still something to watch. Groin injuries can linger, and become aggravated over and over again.
The suit is stitched up now, but at 32 years old, Gordon aging well and staying on the field over a 4-year deal is crucial to his value. Not to mention, he’d cost a comp pick to sign.
With all the risk involved, Gordon could still bring a world of value to the South Side. He’s had a .348 OBP over the last three seasons, and his glove would be a monumental upgrade over Avisail Garcia‘s in right field.
He’s got the postseason experience the team lacks, and like some of the other guys Chicago has targeted, he’s a quintessential ballplayer.
And he also complements the other suits on the shelf quite nicely. Gordon being the best left-handed outfielder on the free agent market can’t be overlooked. That lefty attribute does wonders for this team’s line up construction.
- Adam Eaton (L)
- Jose Abreu (R)
- Todd Frazier (R)
- Alex Gordon (L)
- Brett Lawrie (R)
The problem with adding either Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes is that they hit from the right side. Assuming LaRoche wouldn’t be a middle of the order bat, that leaves any sort of lefty out of the heart of the order.
Believe it or not, Jose Abreu was much better against righties (.908 OPS) than lefties (.658 OPS) last season. In contrast, Todd Frazier was the polar opposite: (.909 OPS vs. lefties) and (.772 OPS vs. righties) in 2015.
Granted Frazier’s splits are a little more even during his career, but with Abreu this may be a trend worth following. Abreu/Frazier/Gordon means at least one of them will see a relief pitcher whose handedness is favorable.
A lefty could be brought in to face Abreu and Gordon, but then Frazier sees them as well. A righty could be brought in to face Frazier, but then he might have to face the lefty Gordon next.
With Gordon at the fourth spot, Brett Lawrie could see a lefty in the fifth spot (.825 OPS vs LH and .660 OPS vs. RH in 2015), which helps him too.
Gordon actually hits lefties better than he hits righties, although both of his splits are more than playable. With that in mind, Melky Cabrera, who is much better from the left side, could hit in the fifth spot.
All of this assumes a manager understands reverse splits (dangerous assumption considering Robin is inept with this), but even if the opposing manager is more savvy than Robin, this line up is hard to work around whether you’re a slave to handedness or to analytics.
Essentially Eaton and Abreu will get on base for Todd Frazier, and Gordon can either cash in those runs or move the line along for Brett Lawrie and Melky Cabrera.
Having a lefty with an OBP above .350 hitting clean up is a great way to inject life midway through the order.
Oh yeah, getting Gordon means your younger brother misses out on the suit for himself. I’d pay a premium to see the Kansas City Royals lose a hometown guy, not to mention their best player, to a division rival.
How about that for a Christmas gift.
Next: Carlos Gonzalez: The Beats Headphones with a caveat