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Alex Gordon declines 2016 player option, now a free agent

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon declined his 2016 player option, and instead is now a free agent, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon.

Gordon would have made $14 million next season had he exercised his option, but instead he will be one of the most attractive free agents on the open market in this hot stove season.

He was rated the fourth-best free agent on the market this winter by our own Grant Brisbee.

He hit .271/.377/.432, a 120 OPS+, with 13 home runs and 18 doubles in 104 games for the Royals in 2015, and over the last five years has averaged 35 doubles and 18 home runs in 146 games while hitting .281/.359/.450, a 121 OPS+.

But offense is only part of the story with Gordon.

Gordon, who turns 32 in February, has won American League Gold Glove Awards for four straight seasons (2011-2014) in left field, and is one of three finalist for another trophy in 2015. For the last five seasons, Gordon has averaged 19 runs per season above average per Defensive Runs Saved, 13 runs per Ultimate Zone Rating, and 12 runs per Total Zone Rating.

He has averaged between 5.0 (FanGraphs) and 5.4 (Baseball-Reference) Wins Above Replacement for the last five seasons.

Gordon missed 48 games in July and August this season with a left groin strain.

Gordon was the second overall pick of the Royals in 2005 and has played all nine years of his major league career with the Royals.