Dee Gordon stole 32 bases in an injury-shortened season for the Dodgers. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles…)
DEE GORDON, 24, shortstop
Final 2012 stats: .228 batting average, 38 runs, 32 stolen bases and .280 on-base and .281 slugging percentages in 303 at-bats.
Contract status: Under team control.
The good: Flashed the speed hoped for, stealing those 32 bases on 42 attempts. Was actually starting to show some improvement at the plate, hitting .286 with nine steals in his last 12 games before tearing his right thumb. Despite essentially playing half a season, his 32 steals were still eighth in the National League.
The bad: As a defensive shortstop, was highly unreliable. Has a strong arm, but inconsistent with it. Only one starting NL shortstop -- Chicago’s Starlin Castro, 27 --committed more than Gordon’s 18 errors. And Castro played in 83 more games. Hit just .172 against left-handers. Despite efforts, never really could get bunting for a hit down. Batted .217 as the leadoff hitter.
What’s next: Interesting coming year for Gordon. Last offseason he was the team’s designated shortstop for the foreseeable future. Then came his injury, the trade for shortstop Hanley Ramirez and the unexpected play of infielder Luis Cruz.
Now he’ll be given some sort of chance to win back his spot, but at the moment his more likely destination appears triple-A. If he doesn’t win his spot back, they could keep him as pinch-runner, but at his age would be better served playing every day in Albuquerque. Currently playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
The take: Gordon was disappointing in 2012, which is still a long ways from anyone giving up on him. Certainly, having to undergo thumb surgery in the middle of the season and missing six weeks did nothing to boost his cause. When he came back, he was left in Albuquerque, where he didn’t hit much either (.267), until called up in September. His last hit in the majors was on July 4.
For reasons that are unclear, the Dodgers seem reluctant to simply move Ramirez at third. If they did, Gordon would be in a more winnable battle at short with Cruz.
But he still looks raw on the field and at the plate, and as high as they claimed to be on him last offseason, right now it seems he would benefit from more time in the minors. There is no doubt he’s talented but looks overmatched and there should be no way he goes back into the leadoff spot. Right now, this does not appear to be the shortstop with whom you win a title.
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