According to Jon Heyman, the Toronto Blue Jays among teams who’ve talked about Marlins’ Dee Gordon and it would make perfect sense
The Toronto Blue Jays need a second baseman. We know this. They need speed. They need a leadoff hitter. We know all of this. The Miami Marlins are in a position to help Toronto out as the July 31st Trade Deadline approaches. And, according to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, Ross Atkins and company have “at least mentioned Dee Gordon“.
Admittedly, this is exactly the kind of rumor that drives many folks crazy at this time of year. Toronto “mentioned” Dee Gordon. Great! That could mean anything. They could have mentioned him in the context of guys they won’t target and that would make Heyman’s statement still true. So, we should take this kind of thing for what it is until something actually comes of it. But, man, wouldn’t it be great if something came of it?
All of this needs to be prefaced with the usual Jays From the Couch obligatory profession of love for Devon Travis. The argument can be made that Toronto has a second baseman. They’re just without him for a couple months (or more). Some are starting to wonder if they can contend while waiting for him to put together a full season of baseball. He hasn’t been able to yet. Can the Blue Jays cling to that hope?
Here's something to consider:
Darwin Barney's 2017 wRC+: 52
Ryan Goins' 2017 wRC+: 57
Could make 2B #BlueJays priority at Deadline
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) July 9, 2017
A team with designs on the postseason cannot be comfortable with this from their second base options. Enter Dee Gordon. He provides everything the Blue Jays have been missing.
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Let’s get the defense out of the way. Gordon won a Gold Glove in 2015. His defense will play. We could get into the whole turf conversation, but it really doesn’t matter. Everything else he brings to the table makes this such a good fit.
Gordon gets on base. He is a contact hitter who does not strike out. But, more than that, he also brings an element that is all but extinct in the Blue Jays lineup. He is fast! The Blue Jays have no speed to speak of. Gordon has it in spades. Stealing 64 bases in 2014 and 58 in 2015, he is on his way to putting up ridiculous stolen base totals again this year. Already, Gordon has 32 thefts on the base paths. Of course, stolen bases isn’t the only use for his speed. Fangraphs has his speed at 6.1 this season. When you have that kind of speed in front of the extra base potential of this lineup, he could be in scoring position at first.
But, wait! There’s more. It seems that we always witness a Miami Fire sale every couple of years. This is the perfect time to unload the commitment they have with Dee Gordon.
This season, Gordon is making $7.8M, which is a very team friendly deal. His club would be on the hook for the next 3 seasons at $10.8M, $13.3M and $13.8M respectively. Should he live up to that value, there is a team option for the 2021 season at $14M (it is guaranteed with 600 plate appearances in 2020 or 1200 in 2019 and 2020). Gordon would be 33. At the current value of fWAR (~$8/$9M), even if he put up 2 wins, he would surpass his AAV. At his best, he’s been worth 4.7 fWAR.
Having Gordon on the roster for the next few seasons would allow the Blue Jays an affordable second baseman during a time when they’re trying to maximize the years they have Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna under control. This makes the deal that much more enticing.
Now, it has to be stated that the Blue Jays will have a dilemma on their hands
if when Devon Travis is healthy. There isn’t really room for two everyday second basemen. Before Travis made it up to the big leagues, he was put in the outfield for a very short stint, which is not something that Toronto would be quick to try out. So, should they land Gordon, they would need to figure out the Travis situation, but that likely wouldn’t be until next season.
At the end of the day, the Blue Jays will have to use what capital they have to make something like this work. As exciting as some of the baby Jays are, the team doesn’t have much prospect capital to work with at the upper level of the minors. It’s for that reason that Toronto will have to flex its wallet (weird, right?). Taking on a potential $51M tab might be the best way to land a speedy leadoff hitter that is so desperately needed.
We’ve seen Toronto take on salary in order to make up for their lack of prospects to offer (see Francisco Liriano). If they are willing to do a similar transaction, Dee Gordon would allow the Blue Jays to make good on their constant comments about getting better now and in the future.
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