David DeJesus Out, Alex Gordon In

Last night during the Royals-Yankees game, David DeJesus sprained his right thumb after running into the fence (video). The complete extent of the injury is not known, but reports are saying that he could be back in two weeks or out for the entire season. This injury could not have come at a worse time for the Royals.

David was having a career year this season hitting .318/.384/.443. The batting average and on-base percentage were each career highs. Among all right fielders, he is 8th this season in WAR with 2.5. After Billy Butler, David was the second best hitter on the Royals.

The real value for the Royals wasn’t the production they expected to get from David on the field. Instead it was his trade value. David currently has 1.5 years left on his contract with less then $2.3 million owed to him this season and $6 million owed to him next season. David projects to be around a 3 WAR player, so his salary is team friendly.

Some of the of the teams interested in trading for David are the Giants and Nationals, though some other teams, Red Sox, A’s, Braves and Padres, may have been possibilities because of holes in their outfields .

With David’s earliest DL return date being after the trade deadline, the Royals lost one of their best trading chips to help build a team for a run at the division in 2012. Now the Royals must decided if they are going to trade him this offseason or keep him until the end of his contract.

Alex Gordon was called up from AAA Omaha to take David’s place. To say that Gordon’s career has been a disappointment would be an understatement. After missing most of last season with a hip injury and having a bad start to this season, he was demoted to AAA and moved to right field.

Gordon’s stats are not exactly what teams are looking for from a right fielder. With so few outfield prospects currently in the Royals system, he would not have much competition from the minors. The major league club should not give him much competition either, but we are dealing with the Royals. Just yesterday Rick AnKKKKKKiel was taken off the DL. Rick has been close to horrible in his minor league rehab starts by striking out 19 times while taking only one walk in 68 plate appearances. He did not let the Royal faithful down last night by going 0-3 with 3 Ks when he replaced David DeJesus.

So looking at the current roster, it seems like the following players will be splitting time in the outfield: Scott Podsednik, Mitch Maier, Willie Bloomquist, Rick Ankiel, Alex Gordon and Jose Guillen. Personally I would like to see Posednick in LF, Maier in CF and Gordon in RF. I would like to watch a younger player get a chance, versus watching a declining veteran struggle. Knowing Ned Yost, we will probably be seeing Podsednik in LF, Ankiel in CF and Bloomquist in RF.

Truthfully, I have no idea what is going to happen with the Royals outfield. One thing I will say with 100% confidence is that Alex Gordon will not see any regular playing time unless someone else gets hurt or traded. In that case, the Royals are already looking into another outfielder. Just when I thought it couldn’t get worse as a Royals fan, it seems it might.

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Jeff writes for FanGraphs, The Hardball Times and Royals Review, as well as his own website, Baseball Heat Maps with his brother Darrell. In tandem with Bill Petti, he won the 2013 SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

12 Responses to “David DeJesus Out, Alex Gordon In”

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  1. symbaton says:

    Out for the year, according to the Kansas City Star: http://twitter.com/Royals_Report/status/19366465805


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  2. Joe says:

    I recognize that Dayton Moore is building talent in the low levels of the minors, but come on. How can anyone take this franchise seriously when 2 (well, 1 now) of the teams 3 best hitters (Gordon and Kila) aren’t even on the Major League roster. This TEAM is worse than replacement level. Also, I know the Soria contract is very team friendly and has little risk, but wouldn’t trading him be an excellent way to upgrade the team as a whole? You’re telling me there aren’t a handful of contenders who would give up far more than they should for the Mexecutioner?

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  3. geo says:

    Jeff, why would you say that you are 100% certain Alex Gordon will not play regularly? Are you that depressed of a Royals fan? Just yesterday, BEFORE DeJesus was hurt, in an interview on MLB Radio Moore said that Gordon and Ka’aihue would both be promoted after the trade deadline and he wanted both of them to play regularly the last two months of the season.

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    • Jeff Zimmerman says:

      I don’t trust what the club says, only what they do. Before Ankiel went down, he was sub for only once. He will see time in CF. Pods is entrenched in LF. That leaves, the other 4 to share RF. The team loves Willie Bloomquist too much, especially against LHP, to keep him on the bench (16 starts in OF, with more coming recently). Maier is actually the best defender of the group and his offense very comparable. There will also be some token games with Guillen in the OF.

      Truthfully, I just don’t think Yost has the balls to sit Ankiel, Bloomquist or Pods. I could be wrong, I hope not, but nothing this team has done previously leads me to believe Gordon will get much of a chance.

      Don’t even get me started on Kila. He was supposed to get chances when the rosters expanded the past two seasons and he ended up in 12 games with 24 at bats.

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  4. Jay says:

    Maybe now that Rick AnKKKKKiel completely lost his ability to make contact, he’s regained his ability to hit the strike zone. Maybe he can only have one skill at a time. Put him on the mound!

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    • CircleChange11 says:

      I agree. It’s time for him to get back to what he was made to do.

      I would not, at all, be surprised that he could get back to being a decent starter, maybe even league average or slightly below. When you have that much natural ability to throw a baseball, it’s worth giving it a shot … especially now that his outfield prospects are dwindling.

      If he did comeback as a pitcher and was reasonably successful, he would have one of the strangest careers ever …. book-worthy.

      Even as a 37yo former lefty-college pitcher, I can’t bring myself to stop rooting for Rick Ankiel.

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      • CircleChange11 says:

        I take it back, I would be surprised if he was successful in a comeback as a pitcher. He’s talented, but a meathead.

        I got carried away.

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  5. jsk says:

    It would be a good idea to copy-edit this post. There are several typos and misspellings.

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  6. Walter Guest says:

    The Giants might still be interested in DeJesus. They collect injured players.

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  7. brown says:

    DeJesus Christ.

    I’m with jsk.

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  8. Shawn says:

    How likely is it that Gordon will see starts at 3rd with Callaspo traded?

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