CBS Eye on Baseball's Dave Brown reported that Gordon's deal is the most expensive one in Royals history, as the previous high was $55 million over five years for Gil Meche and Mike Sweeney.
Having just completed his ninth season in the majors, all with the Royals, Gordon's four-year, $37.5 million contract expired after the team's first World Series win since 1985, as noted by Spotrac. That deal came on the heels of a 2011 season that saw him bat .303 with 23 home runs and 87 RBI.
In 2015, Gordon's numbers weren't quite as attractive. In fact, he didn't match those 2011 numbers in any of the four years of his last contract. But what he did show toward the end of his deal is that he's capable of leading a winning team.
Gordon was one of the integral pieces that helped lead the Royals to the World Series in 2014 despite a .204 postseason average. In 2015, as the Royals stormed their way to an American League Central title, Gordon missed over 50 games in the regular season due to a groin injury.
Ready for the postseason, Gordon hit the tying home run during the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 1 of the World Series. That helped set the tone moving forward, as Kansas City won in five games over the New York Mets.
With a knack for coming up big in heavy situations, Kansas City is also keeping one of the most well-respected players in the league, as Royals play-by-play man Ryan Lefebvre told JournalStar.com's Brian Rosenthal in 2014:
I don't know if there's a more respected player in the league by everybody—young guys, veteran guys, middle-of-the-road guys, coaches, managers. There's 29 other teams that would love to have Alex Gordon. And I think the organization sees him as somebody where you don't really have to tell the minor-leaguers what Alex Gordon is all about. All you have to do is say, "Just watch Alex Gordon every day. Just watch what he does."
His left-handed bat, Gold Glove in left field and leadership skills made him an attractive asset for teams in free agency.
With Gordon back, the Royals keep their model outfielder and can focus on smoothing out the rougher edges on their roster as they prepare to defend their World Series title.
Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.