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Alex Gordon might be a free agent after all

Tuesday's Say Hey, Baseball includes the potential departure of a fan favorite, the Mets leaking free agent dislikes already and Dusty Baker's new gig. Subscribe for your daily Say Hey!

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

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The Royals are World Series champions, but might already be getting a reminder of how fleeting that can be. Alex Gordon, the star of Kansas City thanks to the combination of his bat and possibly historic defensive abilities in left, is expected to decline his player option for 2016 in order to seek out a long-term deal. He'll be 32 years old, but that's still young enough to get a lucrative four- or five-year deal that the Royals might not be able or willing to match.

Advanced defensive value is still more of an artist's rendering than true depiction at this point, but, like with Jason Heyward in right field, Gordon at least looks as good as the numbers suggest. He's been worth over six wins on three occasions in the last five seasons, and has hit .281/.359/.450 for a 121 OPS+ in that stretch on top of his wonderful defense. He could cost $20 million or more per year over whatever his next deal is, but chances are good that he'll be worth it.

Can the Royals afford to make Gordon that large a chunk of their budget? They just won the World Series after bumping their payroll up significantly once, so probably, but they might also have needs for that money elsewhere on the roster given other holes that are opening up. Regardless of where he ends up, Gordon will be one of the most popular commodities on this winter's free agent market, assuming he does actually decline his player option. If he goes elsewhere, it'll be up to Dayton Moore to figure out how to replace their best player to help keep the Royals on top.

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SB Nation presents: What the Royals went through since their last World Series title