With the news breaking earlier today that outfielder Alex Gordon has resigned with the only organization he has ever known, the Chicago White Sox front office should not only be kicking themselves, but they should be ashamed of their lack of action.
Gordon reportedly will receive $72 million over four years, which makes his deal the largest contract in Kansas City Royals history, surpassing that given to former starting pitcher Gil Meche as well as former first baseman Mike Sweeney. (Although KC fans hope Gordon’s money doesn’t turn his production to Meche like levels.)
It appears for the timebeing that USA Today’s Bob Nightengale was spot on when he tweeted out that the White Sox would not go above three years for an outfielder. While there is no guarantee Gordon sprints to a division rival, one must believe if the Southsiders were to have offered a four year contract earlier in the winter and perhaps slightly more than Kansas City just gave him (4-yrs/$75 million for example) that the leftfielder would be donning the interlocking S-O-X at a press conference, not coming home to the team that drafted him number two overall in the 2005 draft. (Coincidentally, one pick after a shortstop taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks named Justin Upton.)
Had Rick Hahn and company (or perhaps more accurately, Kenny Williams and his puppeteers) not dug their heels in at three years, this team would be a contender for the post season right now. Gordon would not only have brought gold glove winning defense and a left handed bat to the lineup, but a winning attitude to a clubhouse that has not won as of late.
Throw in that the front office in Chicago would have been taking him away from a team in their division that happened to win the World Series last year, and this should have been a no brainer. I would have even given Gordon the a player option (or perhaps a mutual option) after the fourth year to sweeten the pot. I understand the team may want to re-up with Chris Sale or Jose Abreu following the 2019 season which likely lead to the decision not to offer a fourth year, but if those players do not win in Chicago in 2016, 2017, or 2018, what will make them resign in 2019?
The former Nebraska Cornhusker Gordon gave this team the best chance to put this team over the hump in what is currently one of the most confusing off-seasons in recent memory. If the two other top flight free agent outfielders, Yoenis Cespedes and the aforementioned Upton, sign elsewhere (such as the San Francisco Giants or Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim) then what was the point of giving up five prospects for Brett Lawrie and Todd Frazier? I refuse to believe the White Sox are done, but Cepedes and Upton will laugh until their faces turn blue if this franchise calls their agents and only offers three year contracts to players of that caliber.
Unless the Pale Hose are willing to bend (which may be the case due to age, Gordon was the elder statesman of the triumvirate of remaining outfielders at 32 years of age), this winter will have been a bust. Lawrie and Frazier are nice additions and should help the club tremendously, but not adding an outfielder will come back and bite the White Sox in the rear when they are sitting at home in October. To the best of my knowledge, the front office at 35th and Shields does not have a crystal ball that says Avisail Garcia will hit .280 with 30 homers and 100 RBIs.
Will the White Sox break their unwritten rule of 2016 by not offering more than three years to any outfielder? If so, which players should they go after? If not, are you comfortable with the outfield as it stands? Let us know below!