The Marlins front office is infatuated with speed. Manager Mike Redmond also loves traditional lineup roles, and without a prolific base stealer at the top of the lineup, he felt something was missing. Since 2012, the Marlins have thrown a different second baseman out there almost every week, from Ed Lucas to Jordany Valdespin to the “beloved” Donovan Solano.
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In the Jarred Cosart trade with the Astros last season, the Marlins landed a versatile 23 year old utility man in Enrique Hernandez, who still had plenty of room to grow after hitting .284/.348/.420 in a short 24 game sample with the Astros before struggling at the plate in 18 games with Miami. The Marlins weren’t sold on his all around skill set, and decided to throw him in with Andrew Heaney and Chris Hatcher when they acquired Dee Gordon from the Dodgers.
Hopefully, the carousel has stopped spinning, because it took a hefty haul to land Dee Gordon, a limited player with incredible speed. Gordon led the National league in triples (12) and stolen bases (64) last season during his breakout campaign with the Dodgers, but he sputtered to a poor finish after the All-Star Break. It remains to be seen whether his great first half was a fluke, but the Marlins have all the faith in the world that he’ll be even better.
Marlins Park has a huge outfield, and when utilized properly, it can be an advantage for patient hitters. Big gaps lead to lots of doubles, and in Gordon’s case, hopefully triples. Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria has heaped the praise on Gordon, relentlessly comparing him to his new buddy, Juan Pierre.
Gordon figures to be the leadoff hitter all season long, and he’ll be looking to terrorize pitchers once he gets on base. The big question of course, is whether or not he can get on base enough. If he does, expect a lot of this:
The Marlins gave up a lot to bring Gordon’s wheels to Miami, but I don’t buy into the perception that he’s a bust of a player. His one tool is speed, and if he can find a way to use it enough, he could still provide significant value with Christian Yelich and Giancarlo Stanton hitting behind him.
The key to success for Gordon will be loads of bunt and infield base hits, and a lower caught stealing rate. 75% successes isn’t quite good enough, no matter how big the volume of attempts becomes. If he can get on, steal, and then score on a single with frequency, he’ll create enough excitement to at least seem worth it for the Fish.
Big expectations are waiting for Dee Gordon on first base, and if he can get there, he’ll be OK.
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