I don’t usually spend a lot of time digging into every rumor, because there’s dozens and the overwhelming majority disappear quickly, never to be heard from again. But I’m going to talk about this one, because it’s not from the usual suspects and it’s actually pretty interesting.
Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune, who was a Royals beat writer until moving to the northwest a few weeks ago, offered this:
With the obvious caveats that this is just talk and not particularly likely to happen, this is a pretty fun idea that I like more the more I think about it. I think we all know that Gordon’s prospect shine has long worn off, especially now that he’s been moved off of shortstop and may have a ceiling as a utility player — and even that is only if he can learn to hit. For a while, I’ve felt that when the end comes for Gordon with the Dodgers, it’ll be as a toss-in as part of some larger deal.
Maybe that’s what will happen, but this is a fun thought too, because Maxwell actually has some value. I know, I know: why do the Dodgers need another outfielder? Because he actually could fill a role I’ve long wanted them to, and that’s as a righty hitting complement to Andre Ethier & Carl Crawford who can fill in at center, as well. (Sort of like Reed Johnson, but I like Maxwell better.)
Maxwell, 30 last month, was a fourth round pick of Washington in 2005, and spent most of his time in the Nationals organization before spending 2012-13 with Houston, and finishing out 2013 with Kansas City. In just 352 plate appearances in 2012 in Houston, he hit 18 homers, enough that I guessed he could be a 20/15 guy given regular playing time. It didn’t happen, because he broke his hand after being hit by a pitch and then dealt with concussion problems upon his return. Finally healthy after a July trade to the Royals, he played extremely well down the stretch (.268/.351/.505 with five homers in 111 plate appearances.)
He strikes out a ton, so he’ll never have a great OBP, but as a righty with power who is an average-to-slightly-above defender and can cover all three spots? For Gordon? Yes and please. It’d create some redundancy with Scott Van Slyke, but Maxwell can play center, and honestly I don’t hate the idea of having both on the bench.
The Royals have a bit of an outfield logjam themselves, with Norichika Aoki joining Maxwell, Alex Gordon, David Lough, Jarrod Dyson, and Lorenzo Cain, so they’re likely to make some kind of a move. They have a huge hole at second base, and while Gordon isn’t going to suddenly be a starter there — they’re reportedly in on Omar Infante and Mark Ellis — he’s a clear change-of-scenery guy, one who would benefit from a new home. (And, of course, Dee’s father Tom Gordon had plenty of success as a Royal.)
Again, this was a one-off tweet by a beat writer, and even if the discussions were real, this almost certainly leads nowhere. But I’ve long been a Maxwell fan, and the idea of turning Gordon into any kind of value, well, that’s extremely appealing. Now let’s return to our daily lives, never to discuss this again.