A veteran player who’s had big hits in the postseason may be hitting free agency this winter. And, reportedly, the Boston Red Sox are interested in him.

Hmmm. Haven’t we seen this before?

According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Red Sox may go after Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon, he of the clutch home run in Game 1 of the World Series.

Gordon would seem like a solid addition. He batted .271 with an .809 OPS this year, hitting 13 home runs. He has a player option with Kansas City for $12.5 million next season but seems likely to forgo that and cash in on his success.

But there are a few problems to consider:

Gordon will be 32 in February. He played in only 104 games during the regular season, missing time because of a strained groin muscle.

 Boston already has outfielders.

 Boston needs money for pitching.

And then there are the comparisons to Pablo Sandoval, who signed a five-year, $95 million deal with Boston last winter after another clutch-hitting performance in the postseason. Sandoval was only 28 at the time, but his “panda-like” appearance makes him appear older.

Sandoval’s best years were in 2009 (.330/.943 OPS) and 2011 (.315/.909). He has been in decline ever since, going .245/.658 in 2015.

Gordon appears in better shape than Sandoval but also is older, and his injury this season does not ease concerns. Gordon’s peak season was 2011 (303/.879). While he hasn’t matched that year, he hasn’t necessarily been in decline.

If Boston is interested in Gordon, it must not have as much faith in its outfield as new president Dave Dombrowski expressed recently. Boston is obviously holding onto Mookie Betts. And Rusney Castillo is likely not going anywhere, having not proven himself, and still with $56.5 million left on his contract.

That leaves Jackie Bradley Jr., who batted .249/.832 in 74 games last season with 10 home runs. Bradley’s defense is superb and he can get hot at the plate (.345/1.163 in August). He can also cool down (.216/.739 after August).

If Boston wants Gordon, it must think it can trade Bradley while his value is high.

But keeping Bradley, 25, is much less a gamble than signing Gordon. Bradley’s numbers are close to Gordon’s, and it’s reasonable to expect him to improve at the plate. No one can quibble with Bradley’s defense, and he earns close to the major league minimum.

With big bucks already committed to Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, Boston needs to spend money for pitching (both in the ace department and in the bullpen). The Red Sox could improve their staff through trades, but few teams are dealing away an ace.

Gordon may look appealing but after the Sandoval and Ramirez deals, the Red Sox cannot afford another mistake.

NOTES: When Boston drafts players in the early rounds, Portland Sea Dogs fans wonder when they might reach Hadlock Field. Forget about catcher Jon Denney, a third-round selection in 2013. Denney, 21, was released this past week, having played only 26 games, all in 2013 as an 18-year-old. Since then he’s continued to get into trouble, starting with an arrest for disorderly conduct in the offseason, then a DUI arrest and more trouble with law enforcement. … The Sea Dogs will begin selling individual game tickets at 9 a.m. Saturday at Hadlock Field (internet and phone orders begin at noon). As usual, the Sea Dogs will feature promotions during the day – including a “swing for season tickets” contest, a “yard sale” of merchandise and a drawing for Patriot tickets.

 


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