DEE GORDON, 25, infielder
Final 2013 stats: .234 batting average, one homer, six RBIs, nine runs, 10 stolen bases, .314 on-base percentage in 106 plate appearances.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: Still fast, successful in 10 of 12 stolen base attempts. Hit .317 (11 for 35) against division opponents with seven stolen bases. For the first time in his career, made two appearances at second base. Spent most of the season at triple-A Albuquerque, where he hit .297, stole 49 bases and scored 65 runs in just 92 games. Made the playoff roster, appearing in two games as a pinch-runner, but was thrown out in only steal attempt.
The bad: He is currently a man in search of a position. Was up three different times with the Dodgers last season but showed no improvement defensively at shortstop. He can make the spectacular play but just easily muff a routine one. Right now he just cannot be relied upon as a regular shortstop.
The take: The Dodgers experimented with Gordon at second base last season at triple-A but it must not have gone too well, because now he’s learning to play the outfield in the Dominican Republic winter league.
He’s playing center but also moving around the outfield, the Dodgers appearing to be preparing him as a utility player. Certainly he has the speed to play center, but it’s not like he wouldn't be stacked up in the organization as an outfielder. The Dodgers are currently trying to figure out what to do with four starting outfielders.
Gordon is not a kid anymore – he’ll turn 26 in April – but still young enough that the Dodgers are not about to give up on someone with such tantalizing speed. That’s a difficult weapon to take advantage of, though, if you can’t find a place for him on the field.
He was the Dodgers’ starting shortstop in 2012, with followers excited about his potential and envisioning a major base stealer. But he hit .228 and played without confidence at short and soon was back in the minors. Now his future may be as more of a role player, but the Dodgers love utility players.