All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon agreed to a $72 million, four-year deal Wednesday to remain with the World Series champion Kansas City Royals.
Gordon will make $12 million this season, $16 million next and $20 million each of the following two years. The deal includes a $23 million mutual option for 2020 with a $4 million buyout. If he is traded, the option would be voided and the $4 million would become an assignment bonus.
The second overall pick of the Royals in 2005, Gordon went through years of growing pains before finally becoming a star. He's not only developed into one of the best defensive outfielders in the game with four Gold Gloves, but also a consistent hitter and clubhouse leader. Gordon declined an option for $13.75 million to test free agency.
Gordon dealt with a wrist injury early last season, then sustained a serious groin injury that sidelined him much for the summer. He wound up playing in just 104 games, hitting .271 with 13 homers and 48 RBI, though he did get voted to his third consecutive All-Star Game.
Dodgers to sign Japanese starter
The Dodgers are set to announce the signing of free-agent Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda.
Los Angeles scheduled a news conference Thursday at Dodger Stadium. The 27-year-old pitcher will become the only healthy righthander in the team's otherwise lefty-dominated rotation, joining Clayton Kershaw, Brett Anderson, Scott Kazmir and Alex Wood. Maeda was 15-8 with a 2.09 ERA in 29 starts in 2015. In eight seasons with Hiroshima, Maeda went 97-67 with a 2.39 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.
.... Former AL Rookie of the Year Neftali Feliz agreed to a $3.9 million, one-year contract with the Pirates. ... Free-agent first baseman Chris Carter agreed to a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Brewers. ... Kelly Johnson agreed to terms on a one-year, $2 million contract with the Braves. ... Major League Baseball games will be streamed live to China for the first time under a three-year agreement with Le Sports.
Spartans tackle to turn pro
From walk-on in 2012 to probable NFL first-round pick in 2016, Jack Conklin announced he is leaving Michigan State and declaring for the NFL draft. The 6-6, 325-pound fourth-year junior left tackle will forgo his senior season and —if the projections are correct — give MSU a first-round offensive lineman for the first time since Tony Mandarich went No. 2 in 1989.
Other declaring for the NFL draft were Florida junior safety Keanu Neal and North Carolina State junior tight end David J. Grinnage.
... George MacIntyre, who coached Vanderbilt from 1979 to 1985, has died. He was 76. His best season was in 1982 when the Commodores went 8-4, 4-2 in the Southeastern Conference and finished with a win at the Hall of Fame Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. MacIntyre was named the Bobby Dodd National Coach of the Year.
Season opener has strong field
Jordan Spieth isn't the only player with a tough act to follow. Jason Day is coming off a monster year of his own with five victories, including his first major at the PGA Championship and a pair of FedEx Cup playoff events that gave him a brief spell at No. 1 in the world.
"I'm very motivated to get back to No. 1," Day said. "I'm very motivated to win as many tournaments as I can this year, and to be a more dominant player. Whether it happens or not, we'll see at the end of the year. But I'm going to give it a good shot. I'm going to work my tail off every single day to try and achieve that."
The first step is the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, which kicks off the new year in grand style Thursday. This is the strongest field at Kapalua in 10 years, with Spieth and Day at Nos. 1 and 2 in the world, along with Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, British Open champion Zach Johnson and defending champion Patrick Reed among the 32-man field of PGA Tour winners from the previous year.