There’s not much of a need to understate the obvious here: despite stealing 32 bases in just 330 PA in 2012, Dee Gordon was something of a failed project for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
What the team had hoped to get was someone who could play a reasonable shortstop game and be an offensive spark plug that got on base enough to wreak havoc on the basepaths, creating offense in different ways with pure speed.
What they got, on the other hand, was anything but that: a -1.4 fWAR player who couldn’t stay above water at the plate or with the glove. That was then, however, and if Gordon’s 2013 debut with the Dodgers was any indication, the 25-year old may be ready to get over his past failings.
I know, I know — it’s just one game, and five PA sample, so it’s a hardly much of a benchmark for future performance at all, to be honest.
Still … it really was quite the first impression. Batting at the No. 8 spot in the Dodgers lineup amidst measured expectations, Gordon wound up being arguably the team’s most productive player at the plate in a 10-9 extra-innings loss to the San Francisco Giants.
Notching two hits out of his four at-bats, it was the shortstop who dealt an unexpected key blow in the Dodgers’ seven-run inning, greeting reliever Jean Machi by teeing off his first pitch thrown for a two-RBI triple. On top of that, he put his speed on display with a pair of stolen bases, including one with an out in the ninth against Santiago Casilla that gave the Dodgers a pair of chances to drive him in as the go-ahead run.
Oh, and he also ended up drawing a walk too, just so he could say he contributed in nearly every facet of the offensive game.
No, it wasn’t quite enough to get the Dodgers through another heart-breaking walk-off loss, but with the way the 13-16 team is going these days following the injury to Hanley Ramirez, they’ll take their spark where they can get it.
Coming off a successful 25-game stint in Triple-A where he posted a career-best 12 percent walk rate (both majors and minors) and an (also career-best) .118 ISO, is Gordon finally ready to step into the role he was meant for with this Los Angeles squad?
It’s still too early to tell, but the answer might just give this team what they need to start their climb towards .500 again.