With so many new faces arriving at the trading deadline, the wonder is less how they’ll all influence a winning clubhouse than the individual players left behind.
Or is the end of the Dee Gordon experiment, circa 2012?
The addition of Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino doesn’t bode well for Gordon, at least not for this season.
Don Mattingly keeps saying if all things are equal, when Ramirez has taken enough infield at shortstop and feels comfortable returning there, that will be his ultimate destination this season. This is assuming shortstop Luis Cruz stops hitting at some point.
And with the addition of Victorino, the Dodgers have a leadoff hitter, Gordon’s other would-be claim.
So the Dodgers don’t really need Gordon at short or the top of the lineup. And since he is not scheduled to come out of his cast for a thumb injury until Thursday, he’s unlikely to be ready to play until the end of August. By then, the Dodgers will be deep into it without him.
Mattingly, of course, is going to play the best lineup every day. If nothing else, the Dodgers have made it clear they’re in this thing to win it this season.
So by the end of August, who knows? Maybe somebody else is hurt, maybe they dislike their third-base options even more than starting Gordon at short. Curiously, the arrival of Victorino could provide a lifeline to struggling Juan Uribe. If Ramirez is at short, somebody has to play third and the Dodgers are not going to playJerry Hairston Jr. there every day.
None of this means the Dodgers have given up on Gordon for the long term. He’s only 24 and enticingly talented. Victorino figures to be a two-month rental and next year the Dodgers could easily start the season with Ramirez at third and Gordon at short.
But on a team trying to win right now, the immediate future for Gordon is murky at best. If Victorino is leading off, Gordon is an unattractive fit at the eighth spot.
Gordon, who’s batting just .229 with a lowly .280 on-base percentage, looks the odd man out.