Are Dodgers running out of positions, and time, with Dee Gordon?

Dee Gordon makes a throw while playing shortstop for the Dodgers in May.
(Erik S. Lesser / EPA)

It’s Dee Gordon, shortstop; Dee Gordon, second baseman; and Dee Gordon, center fielder.

But is it Dee Gordon, baseball player?

The Dodgers are certainly trying, but they’re about to run out of ideas. They are understandably enamored by his speed and ability to steal bases, but that still leaves a couple of problems.

Finding a place on the field where he will not hurt you defensively, and that other little matter about being able to hit. Usain Bolt can run, but I don’t think he could help the Dodgers.


Back in September 2011, Gordon looked like he would deliver on his lofty prospect status. Things seemed to click and he hit .372 that month and stole 12 bases.

But his development stalled and then slipped. In parts of the last two seasons with the Dodgers, he’s hit .229. Worse, he never developed at shortstop. He was unpredictable and a defensive liability.

Clearly the Dodgers understood this when they started playing him at second base last season at triple-A Albuquerque, a move done so quietly and carefully, not even Gordon realized the Dodgers were thinking of switching his position.

He seemed to get OK reviews at second, but after being brought up in September the Dodgers added him to their playoff roster to use him as a pinch runner. And with Andre Ethier hobbling on a bad ankle, Matt Kemp out with his sprained ankle and Yasiel Puig wholly unreliable in center, the Dodgers started working him out in center.


Now he’s going to try playing center this winter, and it seems clear the Dodgers have given up hope he could ever be an everyday shortstop. He would have greater value there, of course, and the Dodgers really have no one ready behind Hanley Ramirez, who may yet be moved to third, and they already have a surplus of outfielders.

So it looks now like Gordon will have to find his way as a utility player, though that still requires that he prove he can hit major-league pitching. This is a couple light-years away from the hot prospect that Dodgers thought they had arriving at shortstop, but he’s still only 25 and can cause havoc on the bases.

They’re not about to give up on him, but he’s running out of time – and positions – to prove he belongs.