As Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports, the Angels, Blue Jays, and Royals have “at least mentioned” Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon as a potential trade target.
The Marlins are expected to be big sellers this month, and the 29-year-old Gordon would seemingly be easy for them to move, as they could plug in Derek Dietrich at second base if he were to be traded.
Gordon has had a decent 2017 campaign, hitting .295/.342/.358 with no homers and 32 steals in 375 plate appearances. He’s a good defender and would provide a solid infusion of speed for any club that would potentially acquire him, but seeing as he has just a .691 OPS over seven big-league seasons, it’s hard to see him being an offensive upgrade for many teams.
Gordon had a spectacular 2015 season, winning the NL batting title with a .333 average and leading the majors with 58 steals. Within months of those accomplishments, though, Gordon was suspended for PED usage, receiving an 80-game ban in April of 2016 after testing positive for exogenous testosterone and clostebol.
Gordon’s contract isn’t exactly team-friendly, as he’s making $7.8 million this season and is still owed $37.9 million through 2020. He’s also got an option for 2021 which would pay him $14 million, and it vests if he collects 600 plate appearances in 2020 or 1,200 between 2019-20. Though he has developed better on-base skills in recent seasons, he still relies primarily on his batting average and base-stealing ability to achieve success, so it’s fair to assume that whenever he experiences a drop-off, it will be a very pronounced one.
Gordon would be an interesting fit for the Angels. Their current second baseman, Danny Espinosa, is hitting just .162/.237/.276 with six homers this season, though he does have the potential to provide more power than he did during the first half. If the Angels were to acquire Gordon, he’d be able to join forces with Mike Trout and Cameron Maybin, arguably making them the fastest team in the majors.
The Royals’ interest in Gordon makes very little sense, though Heyman writes that Kansas City has “long been enamored” with him. They’ve already got Whit Merrifield, who was a strong candidate for this year’s AL All-Star team, hitting .281/.319/.449 with seven homers in 289 plate appearances, at second. And while Merrifield could shift to a corner outfield spot, that would displace Alex Gordon, who has heated up in July and is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, or Jorge Bonifacio, who has been a solid presence in right field, hitting 11 homers over his first 258 career plate appearances.
Perhaps they could plug Gordon in at shortstop, a position at which he’s started two games this season and played 162 at over the course of his seven-year MLB career. While he’d be an offensive upgrade over Alcides Escobar, who has a .548 OPS this season, he’d likely be a significant downgrade defensively.
Toronto would make sense as a player for Gordon this season, as their regular starter, Devon Travis, is out for an extended period after having knee surgery. But if they still believe in Travis, who has posted a .292/.331/.462 slash line over his first three major league seasons, then they’d have to find a way to fit both players into their lineup beyond 2017. Since Travis has been on the disabled list during all three of his major-league seasons, perhaps the Blue Jays would be well-served to acquire Gordon and then use Travis as a trade chip to fetch a young position player who could fill one of their many other holes.