SURPRISE, Ariz. — Alex Gordon went from a bust to busting the bank.
Gordon, who had a breakout 2011 season after a mediocre first four years in the majors, agreed to a $37.5 million, four-year deal that includes a player option for 2016 to remain with the Kansas City Royals.
The team had been working on a long-term deal with Gordon for several months. It was finally announced Friday, one week before the start of the regular season.
Gordon will make $6 million this season, $9 million next season, $10 million in 2014 and $12.5 million in 2015. The player option is also for $12.5 million.
“This is where I wanted to be,” Gordon said. “I’m thrilled it’s done and over with. I can look to the future now. I’m liking what I see. Our goal was to get it done by the beginning of the year, before the season started. It’s a very exciting day for me.
“Ever since Dayton (Moore, general manager) came into this organization, you kind of saw something change and he turned this organization around. We’ve got a great clubhouse right now. I’m excited to be part of it. I couldn’t be happier to be here for five more years.”
Gordon hit .303 with 23 homers, 45 doubles and 87 RBIs. He also won his first Gold Glove, setting a franchise record with 20 outfield assists.
The Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera, the Yankees’ Robinson Cano, and the Red Sox’s Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez were the only others to hit.300 with 45 doubles and 20 homers last season.
Gordon, 27, was the second player picked in the 2005 draft and after one minor league season was the Royals starting third baseman in 2007. Curt Schilling struck him out with the bases loaded in his first big league at-bat, but he was projected to be a superstar, maybe the next George Brett.
In 2010, Gordon hit .215 in 74 games and spent more time in the minors than he did in the majors. He entered last season with a career .244 batting average. He had hip surgery in 2009 and hit .232 with 22 RBIs in 49 games.
Gordon altered his swing last year under the tutelage of hitting coach Kevin Seitzer and put up the best numbers by far of his career.
“This is a special, special individual who broke into the major leagues the way he did with all the expectations and all of the hype and where our organization was and then to go and switch positions for the good of the team,” Moore said. “Who knows if he was ever going to make it back to the major leagues?”
Gordon is one of the longest tenured Royals.
“I feel like one of the old guys around the clubhouse,” Gordon said. “It’s good to part of this, all these young guys coming up.”
Moore said manager Ned Yost believed in Gordon from day one.
“Alex most importantly believed in himself,” Moore said. “To do what he’s done is an incredible to his character and leadership. You have to have examples of greatness on your team if you’re going to win championships. The way Alex prepares and focuses as a baseball player is an example of greatness in our minds. We live with him every day. We see it. He’s won us all over.”
The Royals also signed shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez to multi-year contracts in spring training.
“We want to keep as many of our good players here as long as we can, knowing full well it’s going to be a difficult challenge because we feel like we have talented players and as they get into arbitration and so forth, it’s going to be tougher to manage the payroll going forward,” Moore said. “The way Alex worked with us and structured this deal helps us a great deal. Alex can’t go out and win championships by himself. We’ve got to have a team that’s committed to winning.”