Dee Gordon came back for his first full season since his PED suspension, and mostly picked up where he left off. He has now stolen at least 58 bases and hit .289 or above in every full season in which he's played, and his per-game stolen-base pace was similar in 2016 once he returned from suspension. He continued to put bat to ball with great consistency in 2017 (13.4 percent strikeout rate), with his contact skills and speed more than making up for a low walk rate (3.6 percent). The biggest difference for Gordon in 2017 was that he scored runs in bunches, exceeding his previous career high by 22 thanks to the production behind him in the lineup. A repeat in that area may not happen, but Gordon landed in a spot with a good supporting cast with the trade to Seattle in December. He's expected to patrol center field for the Mariners, meaning he will gain dual eligibility early on.
Gordon blasted two home runs over three at-bats in Friday's 10-7 Cactus League loss to the Giants. Gordon first home run went deep off starter Jeff Samardzija in the third and he followed it up with a solo shot off Sam Dyson in the fifth. The offseason acquisition is displaying unprecedented power this spring, considering he totaled just two round trippers over 653 at-bats last season in Miami. While it's unlikely the increased pop carries over into the regular season, Gordon's rapid acclimation to his new center field spot and his overall play (.391 average over nine games) offer plenty of reason for optimism.
Gordon, who went hitless over three at-bats in a 4-3 Cactus League loss to the Rangers on Thursday, is nevertheless hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a double, a home run, three RBI and three runs over his first five spring training games. The speedster has wasted no time in making a strong impression on his new Mariners teammates, even launching a rare round tripper against the Cubs last Monday. Gordon officially made the move to center field upon his arrival in Seattle, as the seemingly ageless Robinson Cano remains a mainstay at second base. While he has limited experience playing the outfield, Gordon's physical skills should certainly carry him to a respectable defensive performance at a minimum. There'll be more familiarity on the offensive side, as Gordon is slated to fill the same leadoff role he proved quite adept at in Miami. Given his above-average ability to make contact (career-low 13.4 percent strikeout rate last season), elite speed and quality of hitters behind him, he'll be primed for a potentially spectacular run total during the coming campaign.
Manager Scott Servais said Gordon is expected to bat leadoff in 2018, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reports. Jean Segura is expected to hit second with Gordon taking over atop the order, though obviously nothing is set in stone at this point. With the speedster batting leadoff, he should once again be a reliable source of steals, runs and batting average next season.
Gordon will play center field for the Mariners in 2018, Jim Bowden of Sirius XM Radio reports. The report was confirmed by Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who broke the original story of Gordon being traded from Miami to Seattle. Gordon hasn't played center field at any level in the states, but he did make nine appearances in center in the Dominican Winter League a few years ago. Those in the fantasy game will want to continue to deploy Gordon at second base, but the dual eligibility he'll pick up early on will be a nice bonus.
The Marlins agreed to trade Gordon to the Mariners on Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. The new ownership regime in Miami has begun shedding payroll, with Gordon being the first to be dumped. This would seem to create a logjam in the middle infield in Seattle, but these things always sort themselves out -- there could be another trade or perhaps Gordon will prepare for a role in the outfield. Gordon will be on the field close to every day and should once again be a great source of steals and batting average.