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Dee Gordon, Dodgers' bright prospect, looks like odd man out

October 04, 2012|By Steve Dilbeck
  • Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon singles in the first inning during a game against the Angels on June 23, 2012.
Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon singles in the first inning during a game against… (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles…)

Dee Gordon, that bright shortstop of the Dodgers’ future? Exactly where is he now?

Out there in limbo land.

After a disappointing first full season, the addition of Hanley Ramirez and the unexpected emergence of Luis Cruz, Gordon is currently with his nose to the Dodgers' window.

When Gordon when down with an injured thumb on July 4, he was expected to reclaim his starting position upon his return. He never started another game.

Meanwhile, the power-hitting Ramirez arrived and Cruz defied expectations. Cruz was initially playing short, but for reasons that still seem mystifying, was later switched to third, with Ramirez taking over at shortstop. Which is how it played out over the last 51 games.

And at this point, that’s how the Dodgers will start next season.

“Dee Gordon is like every other player,” said General Manager Ned Colletti. “You have to compete at the big-league level and be one of the best players at your position in order to make the big leagues. He’s going to have that opportunity, like he had it this year.”

In 2012, Gordon hit .228 with a .280 on-base percentage, miserable numbers for a leadoff hitter. Defensively he was a problem. In only 87 games, he had 18 errors – twice as many as the next Dodger, and that was Jerry Hairston Jr., and tied for third among major league shortstops.

The Dodgers love his speed (32 steals) and potential, but he’s going to need a fairly spectacular spring to move Cruz (.297, 40 RBI in 283 at-bats) out of the lineup.

Either way, I still prefer Ramirez at third. Cruz may not have the same range, but is the superior defensive player. And Gordon can play only short.

Colletti, however, said as of now, Ramirez is the shortstop.

“I’m not telling you this is in stone, this is the question I was asked on October the fourth,” he said.

“I think [Ramirez] has a chance to become better than he was. It’s also a position where he hit 24 homers and drove in 92 runs. That’s hard to find at that spot.”

The Dodgers were willing to be patient and talk of growing pains when Gordon struggled, but they have other options now. Options that could find Gordon starting next season back at triple-A Albuquerque.

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