St. Louis Cardinals targeting Alex Gordon after Jason Heyward departure


In lieu of the Jason Heyward departure, Alex Gordon looms as a possible target for the St. Louis Cardinals

Jason Heyward is a millionaire folks and the St. Louis Cardinals won’t be paying him those millions of dollars over the next decade. After a week of Heyward roulette at the poker tables in Nashville, the Chicago Cubs plucked Heyward away from the rival Cards after a long week of negotiations. The Cubs didn’t just offer Heyward $184 Million over eight seasons.

They also gave him two opt out clauses in the contract. A pair of escapes. One of them is after just three seasons. That may have been the sticking point for John Mozeliak and the Cards. Maybe it was the lower AAV in their offer. Instead of crying over a loss, The Birds are looking at another free agent outfielder, Alex Gordon. As Steven McNeil mentioned earlier, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today, The Cards are making a hard push at Gordon.

The short sell. Gordon is an older Heyward. Some pop in his bat, four Gold Gloves to his name and polishing a World Series ring collected from his time with the Kansas City Royals. Gordon is coming off a 2015 season where he only played in 104 games yet put together an OPS of .809 and a WAR of 2.8. The missed time also deprived Gordon of his fifth consecutive gold glove. Still, a healthy Gordon is capable of hitting and providing electric defense. His stats from 2011-15.

2011: .879 OPS, 7.2 WAR

2012:. 822 OPS, 6.3 WAR

2013: .749 OPS, 4.2 WAR

2014: .783 OPS, 6.6 WAR

2015: .809 OPS, 2.8 WAR

Now let’s look at Heyward.

2011: .708 OPS, 2.5 WAR

2012: .814 OPS, 5.8 WAR

2013: .776 OPS, 3.7 WAR

2014: .735 OPS, 6.2 WAR

2015: .797 OPS, 6.5 WAR

More from St Louis Cardinals Rumors

In the end, these are similar producing players but there is a catch. The age factor. Heyward is 26 years old and Gordon will turn 32 on February 10th. That is why the length in contract will be half of what Heyward got. Around 4 years at 20 million AAV perhaps. A lot of teams will be scared off by Gordon’s age but he still showed an ability to bounce back from injury and delivered some big playoff hits as well. The Cards liked Gordon’s style of player. A lefthanded bat with power who can provide superior defense.

That defense of Gordon has existed primarily in left field. Can he make the adjustment to right field in Busch Stadium? My fellow Redbird Rants colleague Steven McNeil pointed out that Gordon’s decreasing range in the field won’t help his transition from left to right, but his above average arm will be work just fine. It will go something like this over the phone.

Mozeliak: “Gordo, care to try right field?”

Gordon: “Why not? Sure.”

Mozeliak to DeWitt Jr.:”Pay the man his money”

I do think with his gold glove skills, Gordon can make the switch from left to right. I think the Cards are willing to take that gamble to get Gordon’s bat into the lineup. A bat that once cranked 45 and 51 doubles in a season. A bat as good as Heyward’s if not better. He may not be Gold Glove caliber but Gordon has the chance to be very good.

Gordon is a bet the Cards are willing to take because I don’t see Mo and the Cards wanting to give Justin Upton a large contract. If there is one guy who will benefit from the Heyward deal, it’s the 28 year old power hitting Upton. He is a fine specimen. He has the speed of Heyward, more pop and an average glove in the field that produced nine assists in 2015. He was able to hit in Petco Park, something few hitters offer. However, I don’t see the Cards willing to give Upton 6-8 years like another team will. Such as the Giants and Nationals, who also lost out on Heyward. Do you really think Mo will pay a 30 year old Chris Davis 7-8 years and 185-200 million? I doubt it. As much as I like Davis’ power, he’ll have to come down in price before reasonable minds take over.

Alex Gordon would be a nice response from the Cards and wouldn’t stretch the team over 7-8 years. He is a solid ballplayer who could really fit in well with St. Louis without costing them young ballplayers. Gordon started 150 games or more from 2011-14 before 2015. Do you want to trade a load of prospects to Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez? Gordon is a good play for the Birds.

Stop complaining about losing Heyward. He made a choice. Now, Mo can make his own choice in how to react. The Cards offered him more overall money than the Cubs and Heyward chose the escape options. They offered David Price big money but wouldn’t go past a certain point. It’s fair to be critical of Mo’s moves but now isn’t the time. April 1st is that time. Not today. There are still players on the market. Lots of options. Jason Heyward was a great player but his return wasn’t going to help the offense score more than 647 runs. His return wasn’t going to bolster them any higher than they were in 2015. One man doesn’t make a player. A certain player named Albert Pujols taught Cards fans that.

Alex Gordon isn’t as shiny or brand new as Heyward or Upton, but he represents an intriguing option for the Cards. A dual faceted player with high marks on defense and an ability to collect extra base hits. He could hit 5th, 6th or slide up to the #2 hole if needed. He’s a versatile player. [nextpost teaser=”Rule 5 Draft Gains and Losses for the Cardinals” url=””

Do the Cardinals bite? I wouldn’t mind if they did. Anybody who liked what Heyward offered has to like what Gordon can offer.