Reports surfaced this week that one of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ better prospects, Dee Gordon, would be playing winter ball in the Dominican league. Yesterday, we found out that Gordon will be playing not at his normal shortstop position, but in the outfield:
Source: Dee Gordon will primarily play center field in the Dominican winter league. http://t.co/PY8jNwV4Xq
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) October 30, 2013
With this transition away from his infield home, it is fairly evident that Gordon is not going to be a starter for the Dodgers. Gordon is clearly one of the most athletically gifted Dodgers prospects, but has always struggled to be a complete player. His blazing speed has often earned him appearances in MLB games as a pinch runner or even as a starter, but his inconsistent bat and subpar fielding abilities have limited that playing time. There is no chance he takes Hanley Ramirez’s spot and with young talent Alexander Guerrero just signing with the team to play second base, Gordon’s shot at the infield seems to have dissolved.
As a shortstop, Gordon was often faced with some of the toughest plays and quickest decisions in the field and he just could not cut it. A switch to the outfield would make his life as a fielder much easier and, if he can learn to read balls in their air well, his speed could make him a formidable outfielder. If Gordon can get the hang of chasing down fly balls instead of knocking down grounders, he might stand a chance to be a pinch runner and a defensive substitute late in games, but he will likely never be a starter for the Dodgers.
As the Boys in Blue already have a traffic jam in the outfield with the likes of Yasiel Puig, Matt Kemp, Carl Crawford and Andre Ethier, Gordon does not stand a chance to gain a starting spot. Even if the Dodgers trade one of those four outfielders and they decide to trade their top prospect, Joc Pederson, who also happens to be an outfielder, Gordon would at best be a substitute.
Should Gordon prove himself to be a decent outfielder, he could certainly earn a spot back on the Dodgers’ 25-man roster for 2014. I hope the best for him, but in all likelihood, this might be a final effort to see if the Dodgers can make something more useful of the speedster before they decide to send him to a club who can better utilize him.