The Miami Marlins officially ignited their latest fire sale Thursday, trading Dee Gordon to the Seattle Mariners for three minor leaguers.
The Mariners also got $1 million in international bonus pool space from the Marlins, the second time in two days they have traded minor league talent to increase the amount they can offer Japanese star Shohei Ohtani.
The Mariners now can offer $3.56 million, just ahead of the Texas Rangers at $3.54 million. The Angels can offer $2.3 million, with the other four finalists — the Dodgers, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, and Chicago Cubs — limited to $300,000 each.
Ohtani must select his team by Dec. 22.
The Mariners have not hidden their affection for Ohtani, but the extra pool space did not come cheaply. They agreed to assume the remaining $38 million of Gordon’s contract — and, with Robinson Cano as their second baseman, to move Gordon to center field.
Gordon has not played center field in the major or minor leagues, although the Dodgers once sent him to winter ball to learn the position. In 2013, with Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier injured, they considered using him in center field in the National League division series. (They started Skip Schumaker instead.)
The Dodgers traded him to the Marlins after the 2014 season, paying the 2015 salaries for Gordon and Dan Haren to play for Miami so they could acquire catcher Austin Barnes, utility man Enrique Hernandez and pitchers Chris Hatcher and Andrew Heaney. They then flipped Heaney to the Angels for infielder/outfielder Howie Kendrick.
Gordon led the National League with a .333 batting average in 2015, winning a Silver Slugger and Gold Glove, and the Marlins signed him to a five-year, $50-million contract. He was suspended 80 games in 2016 for violating baseball’s drug policy, then hit .308 with a league-leading 60 stolen bases last season. (The Mariners stole 89 bases.)
Next up for the Marlins, presumably: the trade of NL most valuable player Giancarlo Stanton, for whom the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals already have made offers.
Stanton, who grew up going to games at Dodger Stadium, has a no-trade clause and reportedly would prefer a trade to his hometown team. The Dodgers would prefer not to assume the remaining $295 million left on Stanton’s contract.
The Marlins’ active efforts to trade Stanton — and now the trade of Gordon — have meant that new owner Derek Jeter’s honeymoon is over before the team has lost a single game with him in charge. The Miami Herald reported that Jeter was booed at the Miami Heat game on Sunday.
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