It’s Dee Gordon, sensation. Dee Gordon, the leadoff man envisioned. Dee Gordon, leading the majors in steals.
Dee Gordon, the man who made Alex Guerrero expendable?
The Dodgers elected in the off-season not to bring back Mark Ellis as their starting second baseman, largely because they had signed Guerrero to a $28-million contract and were confident the shortstop could make the transition to second. At the major-league level, no less.
Only a couple of things went wrong with that. Guerrero, who arrived in the U.S. later than the Dodgers hoped, did not make a seamless transition this spring and Gordon played very well.
Gordon started last season at shortstop, was converted late in the triple-A season to second, then played some outfield with the Dodgers. He was being groomed as a utility player, only he came into camp, won a platoon spot at second and now has seized the position.
And now it’s not hard to imagine he’ll be a fixture there for some time.
Which leaves Guerrero where?
Currently he’s at triple-A Albuquerque, where he’s batting .337 and tied for fourth on the team with four home runs and 18 RBI.
“Lately, offensively, he’s really started to pick it up,” Dodgers General Manager Ned Colletti told The Times’ Dylan Hernandez. “We asked him to change positions. That’s never easy. The defense is still something that needs to get better.”
But at what position? It’s not like they have an abundance of time to figure this out. Guerrero is 27 years old. And Gordon turned 26 last month.
If Guerrero’s range is suspect at second, it’s difficult to imagine they would want him back at shortstop. But the more Gordon looks like the real deal at second, the more Guerrero looks like a man in need of another position switch.
“We may, in time,” Colletti said. “We’re trying to get him to play. Obviously, repetition for him is invaluable for him.
“We’ll decide at some point in time if we need to add more versatility to his defense to give him a better chance of him getting here. But right now, the offense has been pretty close to what we would need.”
If Gordon locks down second, the Dodgers could try to trade Guerrero, though you have to wonder how many other clubs would believe the Cuban is worth the $28-million deal.
Gordon has given the Dodgers a special player at the top of the order, but a potential problem back in Albuquerque.