Listen, we know it's tough to catch up on everything happening in the baseball world each morning. There are all kinds of stories, rumors, game coverage, and Vines of dudes getting hit in the beans every day. Trying to find all of it while on your way to work or sitting at your desk just isn't easy. It's OK, though, we're going to do the heavy lifting for you each morning, and find the things you need to see from within the SB Nation baseball network as well as from elsewhere. Please hold your applause until the end, or at least until after you subscribe to the newsletter.
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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.
- Dusty Baker is now officially the Nationals' manager, and if you missed how we went from them hiring Bud Black to turning to Dusty, just know that money was the problem.
- Many fans recoil at Baker's name thanks to his pitcher-abusing work with the Cubs over a decade ago, but he's evolved alongside the game since then -- Baker is a safer manager than he used to be, and unlike the one he's replacing, players actually respect him and his authority.
- Royals fans waited 30 years for another championship, and now it's here. If they hurry, they can still get a decent view for the parade on Tuesday, too.
- WWE's Triple H sent the Royals a custom championship belt with Royals' plates on it.
- Remember 24 hours ago when the big question for the Mets was whether they would spend this offseason in order to keep their lineup productive? They already leaked that they're unlikely to retain Yoenis Cespedes. Now, there are other free agent options, but if New York is this quick to let everyone know they shouldn't be hoping for Cespedes, how confident can you be in their chasing one of them?
- While we're on the subject, David Price, Johnny Cueto, Jordan Zimmermann and more highlight this winter's free agent class.
- Theo Epstein predicted a month ago that whichever team wins the World Series will be endlessly copied this winter.
- The Yankees should take on a big, bad contract to earn them another prospect or help elsewhere.
- Yovani Gallardo is expected to receive a qualifying offer from the Rangers, which probably won't help his free agent prospects.
- Tony LaCava was named the Blue Jays' interim general manager now that Alex Anthopoulos is officially gone. Mark Shapiro, who Anthopoulos potentially might not have wanted to work for, is already being anonymously ripped for his time running the Indians, and by a general manager, even. This might end up being fun for everyone but Jays' fans.
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SB Nation presents: What the Royals went through since their last World Series title