Well, for about a minute, the Dodgers had the only (I think) all African-American middle infield in baseball, in Jimmy Rollins and Dee Gordon. But now Gordon is gone, off to the Miami Marlins. I wouldn’t say I am conflicted on this, because I definitely know what to feel. But my feelings are on opposite ends of the spectrum.
From a baseball perspective, I like the move. Alex Guerrero’s contract requires him to be in he Majors, so it makes sense to open up the only position that he can really play. The Dodgers are definitely taking a hit on defense here, as Gordon had turned himself into a very good defensive second baseman. And obviously, they are taking a big hit on speed. But Guerrero should be an upgrade offensively, even considering the speed deficit, and probably enough of an upgrade to make up for the defensive hit.
The return for Gordon is pretty exciting. Andrew Heaney is a 23-year-old left-handed pitcher who was a top-30 prospect in baseball coming into 2014. He struggled in his seven Major League games (five starts), but he was dominant in both Double-A and Triple-A before his call-up. Hanging around Clayton Kershaw can only do good things for a young left-hander, I’d guess.
The last part of the baseball equation is that the Dodgers are sending Dan Haren to Miami, too. This is addition by subtraction. Haren was solid at times and lousy at times, and there’s no way the Dodgers would have volunteered to pay him $10 million in 2015. But he had his player option, which he exercised. He has said that if he was traded, he would probably retire, and it seems like the Marlins are probably counting on that here, because they certainly don’t want to pay him $10 million in 2015. So the Dodgers save millions and stop wasting a roster spot on a guy who doesn’t really have a place anymore.
You also have to consider the possibility that Gordon had a career year in 2014. If he repeats his solid season next year, I still like this move. If he doesn’t repeat it, I love that the Dodgers sold high on him.
So yeah, from the baseball side, there is a lot to like. But doggone it, I like Dee Gordon. He is always smiling. His energy is contagious. You can’t look at him and not be happy. If he and Matt Kemp are both gone next year, the team dynamic is a lot different. It’s not like they are irreplaceable, or even that they are the keys to the team chemistry. But I am sad to see him go, and I am pretty likely to watch quite a few games of Gordon/Stanton on Extra Innings next year. (On mute, of course, because the Marlins’ announcers are awful.)
Good luck, Dee, and thanks for the memories!
UPDATE (5:30 p.m. Mountain time):
Wow, it wasn’t just Heaney coming to the Dodgers. They also got Kiké Hernandez (second baseman who can play a few other positions), Austin Barnes (catching prospect), and Chris Hatcher (a hard-throwing relief pitcher who was very good for the Marlins last year). It’s hard not to love this move from a baseball perspective, no matter how sad I am to see Dee go.