Chicago Cubs: Could KC hero Alex Gordon bring his talents to Chicago?
Chicago Cubs are in need of an outfield bat, and Alex Gordon is a name worth considering.
Outfielder Alex Gordon is available and the Chicago Cubs should sign him.
Before anyone jumps at that statement and gets upset, let me preface this by saying I like Dexter Fowler. A lot. I like free agent Jason Heyward a lot. I expect the Cubs to sign one of either David Price, Zack Greinke — though I believe the latter goes back to the Los Angeles area — in addition to possibly Jordan Zimmermann, depending on money and what may develop over the trade market.
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It’s doubtful the Cubs would bring in at least two of the three aforementioned outfielders. Fowler had a very successful first season on the North Side, and is in line for a huge raise over the coming weeks. Fowler declined his $15.8 million qualifying offer last week.
No surprise considering he will make more than that with a nice four or five-year deal from some team.
He’s going to be 30-years-old by Opening Day 2016, and while Theo Epstein has expressed his desire to talk contract with Fowler, the Cubs also have players in the minors that could be making their presence in the Cubs outfield sooner rather than later.
Heyward and Gordon of course fall into a similar predicament, but for the sake of this article, I’m going to focus on Fowler considering the possibility he returns, and Gordon as a piece that could make sense. There seems to be a better possibility he comes to Chicago versus Heyward, at least right now.
Gordon would solidify left field, and might be an option at third base now and again, thought it’s something he hasn’t done since 2010, and not regularly since 2008. And yes he did commit a lot of errors at the hot corner. It’s an interesting situation however, as that allows Kris Bryant to play the outfield, which has been discussed for 2016.
At the end of the day I would expect to see Bryant as the everyday third baseman, with the occasional start in the outfield. If Jorge Soler was dealt in a trade for a starting pitcher, it opens up a spot for a Fowler, Gordon, etc.
So why am I pushing for the signing of Gordon? It would be nice if the Cubs could sign him and Fowler. I really would hate to see Fowler go. But for arguments sake, I like Gordon even more if I have to pick.
Gordon is a year older, and Fowler did play more games in 2015, however Gordon has played 148 games and more between 2011 and 2014. Fowler’s 156 games last season was the most he ever played in a season. Fowler averaged around 125 games between 2011-2014.
One invaluable aspect Gordon brings with him is postseason experience. His place on the 2014-2015 Royals’ postseason rosters compares to a young Cubs team who got a taste, and now look to replicate that success by getting back to playing deep into October for 2016.
Fowler is attractive for his ability to leadoff, while covering a lot of ground in center field. He set career highs in home runs with 17, walks with 84 and he carries with him a career .363 on-base percentage.
Gordon has a career .348 on-base, though he’s played more games than Fowler in recent years, and thus had more at-bats. It’s safe to say both would even out to about the same if both played the same amount of games. Both have similar career batting averages, and Gordon has a slightly higher slugging percentage.
The only real difference is Gordon plays left field and Fowler mans center. Gordon provides a sure defensive upgrade over Kyle Schwarber, which slotting Gordon in left would allow Schwarber more at-bats as a catcher. What if he was included in a trade?
Could Austin Jackson come back and play center field every day for the Cubs, a temporary option while the team waits for prospects to come up?
The Cubs couldn’t go wrong in signing either of Fowler, Heyward or Gordon, as all three are very similar. They all bring with them a good bat. It will ultimately come down to price, and the fact each plays a different outfield position will boil down to the fit and need of the team.