All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon of the Kansas City Royals declined his player option for next season Wednesday and will test free agency for the first time.

The four-time Gold Glove winner has spent his entire nine-year career with the Royals, who drafted him second overall in 2005. But it has only been in the past few years that he has flourished, driving up his value while helping Kansas City to this year's title.

Gordon's option rose to $13.75 million after he achieved a series of escalators. He will be 32 in February, which means this may be his last opportunity to sign a lucrative long-term deal, though both sides have expressed interest in Gordon remaining in Kansas City.

Gordon hit .271 with 13 home runs and 48 RBI in 104 games during the regular season.

Earlier in the day, the Royals declined mutual options on right fielder Alex Rios and starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

...The crowd that flooded downtown Kansas City for a Royals' World Series championship celebration Tuesday was estimated to be 800,000. Kansas City has a metropolitan area of about 2 million.

Jocketty to take a step back

The Reds promoted Dick Williams to general manager as part of a succession plan for 64-year-old Walt Jocketty, who will stay on as director of baseball operations for one more year before moving into an advisory role.

After 21 years as a general manager with St. Louis and Cincinnati, Jocketty, a Minneapolis native and U of M graduate, wanted a less demanding role.

"I still want to be involved quite a bit, but don't want to be involved in day-to-day operations," Jocketty said. "Too many headaches."

Greinke declines guaranteed $17M

... Pitcher Zack Greinke opted out of the final three years of his contract with the Dodgers, giving up a guaranteed $71 million to become a free agent. ..The White Sox declined a $10 million option on shortstop Alexei Ramirez.

... Mets bench coach Bob Geren joined the list of candidates for the Dodgers' managerial job. The list includes: Gabe Kapler, the team's current director of player development; Tim Wallach, who has been the Dodgers' bench coach; former Padres manager Bud Black; Nebraska baseball coach Darin Erstad; San Diego bench coach Dave Roberts; Ron Roenicke, who has been the Dodgers' third base coach; Dave Martinez, bench coach for the Cubs; and Kirk Gibson, a former Dodgers star and Arizona manager.

around the horn

Boxing: Russia's Denis Lebedev retained his WBA cruiserweight title with a win by stoppage over previously undefeated Nigerian Lateef Kayode.

WNBA: League President Laurel J. Richie is stepping down after more than four years on the job to pursue other opportunities.

minnesota scene

Three Gusties honored

Senior middle hitter Alyssa Taylor of Gustavus Adolphus, the MIAC regular-season champion in volleyball, was named the player of the year in the conference.

Teammate Nora Holton, a setter, was picked the rookie of the year and Rachelle Sherden of the Gusties was named coach of the year.

Gustavus lost its first two matches of the season but, since then, has won a school-record 25 matches going into the MIAC playoffs.

Carleton's Camille Benson, a senior libero, was named defensive player of the year for the second consecutive season.

Awards for three at U

Matt Barnard and Yu Zhou of the Gophers were named the Big Ten men's and women's divers of the week — for the fourth time this season. Swimmer Michael Messner, a third Gopher, was named the co-freshman of the week. Barnard and Zhou swept the 1- and 3-meter diving events in a dual meet with Iowa. Messner won the 500- and 1,650-meter freestyles.

staff and wire reports