Gordon rejects Royals' qualifying offer for '16

Gordon rejects Royals' qualifying offer for '16

The Royals headed into Friday knowing that there was a great chance that left fielder Alex Gordon would decline the team's one-year qualifying contract offer. Gordon indeed took that step, opting to test his value on the free-agent market.

After turning down a one-year player option worth $13.75 million on Nov. 4, Gordon has now declined the option of returning to the Royals on a one-year deal worth $15.8 million through Major League Baseball's qualifying offer system. This does not necessarily mean that Gordon -- Kansas City's longest-tenured player -- will not be back with his former team.

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The Royals understand that other teams will come calling, though.

"Alex is family. I want Alex to have all 30 teams interested in him," general manager Dayton Moore said earlier this month. "He'll have an opportunity to make a very informed decision. ... We are going to be as fair as we can and hopefully it's good enough. It's the first time in my career that I've had this situation presented."

By declining the qualifying offer, the 31-year-old Gordon now comes with 2016 MLB Draft consequences for some teams. Any club that does not have a protected first-round pick (first 10 selections) would lose its top pick by signing Gordon this winter.

Ben Zobrist, who was acquired by the Royals at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, is also a free agent this winter.

"Gordo is their top priority and he should be," Zobrist told MLB.com earlier this month. "He is the face of the franchise. But we would love to come back, too."

This past season, Gordon was limited to 104 games due to a groin injury, but he still turned in a solid .271/.377/.432 slash line for the World Series-champion Royals. The four-time Gold Glove Award winner and three-time All-Star added 13 home runs, 18 doubles and 48 RBIs. Prior to 2014, Gordon averaged 156 games in the previous four years, hitting .283 (.809 OPS) in that span.

Dating to 2011, when Gordon won his first Gold Glove Award, he has notched a Major League-leading 94 Defensive Runs Saved in left field. Over the past three years, Gordon's 50 DRS led the American League and were second only to Pittsburgh's Starling Marte (54) in the Majors. Gordon's 14.2 UZR/150 is also second in the Majors over the last three seasons (Yoenis Cespedes ranks first with a 17.6 rating).

Gordon, who will turn 32 in February, was Kansas City's top Draft pick in 2005 and signed a four-year extension with the club that ran through this past season. Gordon is now poised to sign his first multi-year contract as a free agent.

"There's no doubt in any of our minds that we want Alex and Alex wants to be here," Moore said. "But again, we're not going to take advantage of any relationship."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.