Number Munchers: 8 Options for the Kansas City Royals to withstand the Alex Gordon injury

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Shortly after we all watched in horror “the groin pop heard round the metro”, Royals Blue’s very own “what’s good for the gander is also good for the” Luke Goosen wrote a piece about what to do with our newly opened hole in left field. One week and an impressive four and a half game performance by the Dyson/Orlando platoon later, we thought we’d take a more in depth crack at what options the Royals have.

Alex G

There are 10 weeks left in the season. #Gordo is projected to be out for the next 7 (8 total). It is safe to add another week or two upon that for him to get his timing back at the plate against major league pitching. All of that to say, we basically need to replace half a season’s worth of Alex Gordon.

In many ways, that is an impossible task. Beyond all the sabermetrics, there is the #Gordo effect. With #CountryBreakfast now wearing the green & gold of the Oakland Athletics, Gordon is the grizzled face of our Royals organization. Salvy, Hosmer, Moose or Cain may get more social media or national acclaim, but any true blue blood knows Gordon is the quiet veteran leader of this wild pack of pups. That will not be replaced.

However, we can look at the pure numbers of his production on the field. Over the past 4 seasons, Gordon has averaged 6.075 WAR, 79 RBI, 93 runs scored and an .808 OPS. These will be the 4 categories in consideration: overall value (WAR), driving in runs (RBI), scoring runs (R) and the efficiency while doing so (OPS).

The In-House Options

dyson

Over the past 3 seasons, Jarrod Dyson has averaged 2.06 WAR and … well, we won’t talk about those other offensive stats because they’re not even in the same universe. Safe to say, he won’t be the batter that Gordon is. However, Dyson appears to be an ascending player, with 1.6 WAR already posted for this season over only 45 games/109 AB. He is a plus defender and would bring an element of speed back to a team that has been able to shy away from the running game so far this season.

Paulo-Orlando

Paulo Orlando (or #BrazilianBrunch as I have been trying in vain to get going) wowed us all with a hot start, slugging 4 triples in the first 7 games of 2015. But the bugaboo that is sample size set in, and we learned he is about what we all thought he would be: a .4 WAR player over 37 games/125 AB. He’s a nice tool off the bench for a spell, but not an everyday player at this point in his career.

From the minors, there are several OF that are promising, but none that appear major league ready. Of interesting note is Jose Martinez at AAA Omaha. Over 51 games/170 AB this year, he is slashing .353/.415/.541, good for a .956 OPS. However, he is hitting 8th in the lineup every day at AAA, so having not actually seen him play, we will assume there is a good reason he is still there despite that production.

The Rental Options

barney stinson

The trade deadline is only a couple weeks away. Many of us love to operate under the principles of the gloriously suited up Barney Stinson: new is always better. Not only is there the question of how do we replace Gordon's production, but what about an improvement on what we’re currently getting in RF and 2B? What are some viable trade options?

zobrist

Ben Zobrist: average season from 2009-2014: 4.667 WAR, 76 RBI, 86 R, .800 OPS. He is a free agent after this year currently on a 7.5 million dollar contract.

Zobrist is a slight downgrade from Gordon in every category. However, he does have the added benefit of being able to play second base. He is also the most coveted rent-a-player OF on the market right now, which will raise his prospect price tag.

Likelihood of him being a Royal: Best of the bunch, but eh … maybe? Lots of suitors to battle with.

marlon byrd

Marlon Byrd: It seems like each of the past three seasons there has been buzz about trading for this guy. Byrd is an older player with injury risks. In his 14 year career, he has only logged 120+ games five times. However in those 5 seasons, he averaged 3.1 WAR, 75 RBI, 76 R and .787 OPS. He is a free agent after this year currently on an 8 million dollar contract.

Likelihood of him being a Royal: Only if we lose out on Zobrist and Dyson struggles

parra

Gerardo Parra: The opposite of Byrd, Parra has been a durable defensive standout over his 7 years in the majors. His bat, on the other hand, leaves something to be desired. His average line: 2.34 WAR, 43 RBI, 57 R, and a .720 OPS. He is a free agent after this year currently on a 6.24 million dollar contract.

Likelihood of him being a Royal: He is essentially a not-homegrown version of Dyson (Dyson’s speed offsetting the marginally improved pop of Parra). No reason to trade for what we already have.

gomes

Johnny Gomes: People love the idea of a thumper. Unfortunately, Gomes just really isn’t that. In 13 seasons, Gomes has only crested 120 games twice, only 100 games 7 times. In those seasons, he averaged .4 WAR, 54 RBI, 51 R and a .764 OPS.

Those are, ya know, #BrazilianBrunch kind of numbers.

Likelihood of him being a Royal: Nope, Nope, Nope

The Longer Term Options

bruce

Jay Bruce: The Reds are about to be in fire sale mode. Bruce is a name that is being floated as “likely to be moved”. From 2010-2014,he averaged 2.56 WAR, 83 runs, 88 RBI and a .795 OPS, an overall slight downgrade from Gordon. You also have to factor in he played 81 games a year in the shower stall known as Great American Ballpark. There are advanced metrics to illustrate how that inflates his offensive numbers, but this article is already long enough. He is on a 2015 contract of 12 million, owed 12.5 in 2016 and a team option of 13 mil in 2017.

Likelihood of him being a Royal: Only if the club is forecasting not resigning Gordon or already moving on from Rios at this point

maybin

Cameron Maybin: This name has picked up a lot of buzz in the past couple weeks. #GMDM has wheeled and dealed with the Braves numerous times over his tenure and reports are that Maybin is being actively shopped. Maybin has had troubles staying on the field, with only 2 seasons of over 100 games in his 9 year career. His average of those seasons: 3.75 WAR, 43 RBI, 75 R and .686 OPS. He is batting better so far in 2015 with 43 RBI and .774 OPS, but still only has a .6 WAR for the season. He just stinks of a second half regression candidate to me. His saving grace is the affordable price tag of 7 mil 2015, 8 mil 2016, and 9 mil team option for 2017.

Likelihood of him being a Royal: I’ll pass, thank you very much

dyson orlando

In the end, it’s not breaking news, it’s not sexy, it won’t be popular with bandwagon #Royals fans, but we are more than likely looking at a Dyson/Orlando solution, with perhaps an Ibanez/Willingham type of bat brought in for the pine. The #Royals can more than survive with a 75/25 Dyson Orlando split the rest of the season. Yes, it would be a drop off from Gordon’s typical production, but not so significant as to lose us a playoff race.

This writer is just fine with that.

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Author: Zach Hodson

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