Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Gordon's second wind
As I sit here waiting for the Dodgers to take on the Reds in some Spring Training action (thanks, MLB Network, for giving this guy from New York some Dodger Love), one thing is starting to hit me more and more: the Dodgers really like Dee Gordon.
How much? I wouldn't be surprised to see him start the season at second base, while Alexander Guerrero is sent to Triple-A for some seasoning.
The reason is two-fold. Gordon is really starting to earn it. We've heard about how he spent the offseason "bulking up." I'm guessing we'll never know how many pounds he added on considering I've read both 13 and 29. (If you really want a laugh, click on his fantasy news on his player profile over at MLB.com and you'll see what I'm talking about. Talk about confusing...)
While he's only 3-for-12 in the early going, one possible benefit of "bulking up" is that two of those hits were triples in the same game. That's something you can assume wouldn't have happened last season. He also has driven in three runs, walked once, and only struck out once. Not bad.
The other reason is because Guerrero has yet to really take the bull by the horns and claim second as his. You know what? That's OK. I'm sure he's just trying to figure everything out still and putting too much pressure on himself. He's the long-term answer anyway, not to mention trying to convert from shortstop, so give him time to get it together. He will.
Gordon is just about to enter his prime as he turns 26 in April. He's played in 71 games over the past five seasons, and though you may have forgotten, he actually was on the playoff roster last postseason, albeit in strictly a pinch-running role. So it's not like he hasn't been around big games before.
In addition to being a toothpick, one that would never hold up over the course of a long big league season, his defense has ranged anywhere from bad to atrocious. Well, he sure looks like he's been doing something about that, as he made a couple of very nice plays from second in a loss against the Mariners on Tuesday. He also spent the Domincan winter league playing center field, a very smart move on everyone's part.
Perhaps a bit lost in all of the offseason headlines about Clayton Kershaw's enormous contract, Matt Kemp's injuries, and Brian Wilson's hair was the fact that the Dodgers lost pretty much all of their utility players off the bench in Nick Punto, Skip Schumaker, Michael Young, and Jerry Hairston. Gordon could be the perfect type of guy to fill one of those roles.
Better yet, he could start the year at second, show off his improved skills at a position more suited to his skills, and make an impact hitting eighth. Let's say he starts sprinkling in some gappers to go with all of that speed. He could have some big games.
I think now is the time to be excited about what he brings to the table. His career could not have started off any better, which was right before it got a whole lot worse. If he keeps playing this well the next couple of weeks, don't be surprised to see his name in the starting lineup against the Diamondbacks in Australia.
Let's just call it "Flash, Part II."