What happens in the Dominican Republic winter league could significantly affect the Dodgers’ plans for next season.
The league will not only offer the Dodgers their first extended look at recently signed Cuban infielder Alexander Guerrero, it will also be where Dee Gordon attempts to move from shortstop to center field.
Guerrero, who signed a four-year, $28-million contract with the Dodgers, will play for Gigantes del Cibao.
Gordon will primarily play center field for Tigres del Licey, according to a person familiar with his plans but unauthorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Gordon was the Dodgers’ opening-day shortstop in 2012, but hit only .228 and was shaky defensively. His role diminished after the Dodgers acquired Hanley Ramirez.
Gordon didn’t make the opening-day roster this year. He made 18 errors in 73 games at shortstop with triple-A Albuquerque, where he also was tried at second base.
Now 25, Gordon will be attempting to play yet another position this winter.
Because of his speed, Gordon is viewed by some as better suited for the outfield. The opinion appeared to be widespread at the winter meetings last year. Many of the rival clubs that inquired about Gordon last winter were interested in him as an outfielder, according to Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly.
Besides Gordon and Guerrero, four players on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster will play this off-season: outfielder Nick Buss (Cardenales de Lara, Venezuela), left-hander Onelki Garcia (Glendale Desert Dogs, Arizona Fall League), utilityman Elian Herrera (Aguilas Cibaenas, Dominican Republic) and right-hander Matt Magill (Indios de Mayaguez, Puerto Rico).
Two of the Dodgers’ top prospects will spend their winters in Venezuela, where outfielder Joc Pederson will play for Cardenales de Lara and left-hander Chris Reed for Tiburones de La Guaira.