If the Toronto Blue Jays are interested in competing in 2018, they need a 2B solution. They need to bring me Dee Gordon
The Toronto Blue Jays have had a problem this year. Well, to be fair, they had a lot of them. But, one of the more concerning ones is that Ryan Goins and Darwin Barney were asked to play far more than should be reasonably expected of them. It’s not their fault. Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis missed an obscene amount of time.
With Tulo virtually unmovable – and still a good shortstop – and word that Travis can’t be expected to be healthy for a full season (!), it is time the Blue Jays look for a permanent solution at second base. Enter Dee Gordon.
In the interest of being open, this is not a new idea. We’ve heard this name brought up this year already. Back in July, it was rumored that the Blue Jays had interest in the second baseman playing out of Miami. It was a good idea then and it’s an even better one now. Back then, this was the reasoning:
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
Now, the reasoning is that Travis can’t be expected to play. So, Ryan Goins is not an everyday option, Darwin Barney is not an option, Devon Travis is not an option. It is time to look outside the organization. Dee Gordon should be the target.
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Gordon’s best quality is something the Toronto Blue Jays are in desperate need of: speed. He led the league in stolen bases in each of his last three full years playing. Imagine a guy who can swipe fifty bases or more causing havoc on the basepaths in front of Josh Donaldson. You might notice that he also led the league in getting caught stealing. But, even that can be seen in a positive light. Attempting 70 or more stolen bases means that the defense is forced to work hard, which might sound silly. But, in the case of the 2017 offense, teams could afford to relax when facing the Blue Jays on the basepaths.
But, Gordon is more than his legs. His bat is very nice. He is a former Silver Slugger winner, batting champ and career .293 hitter. He won’t hit for power, but would help provide some balance to the lineup. His career K% sits at 14%, which is unheard of from someone in a Blue Jays uniform. Granted, his walk rate is Kevin Pillar-esque, but does it matter when he has seasons with an OBP of .359 and .341. His career OBP is .329. He made contact at a rate of 86.8% in 2017. He is a lefty hitter who hit .293 against lefty pitching last season (.284 for his career), so no platooning nonsense is in order.
But wait! There’s more! Dee Gordon is a 2015 Gold Glove winner. That year, he put up a whopping 13 DRS. With Miami, in 2017, he was worth 3 DRS and had a UZR/150 of 7.3, which actually showed more range than in 2015. The fact is that all he has to do is play reasonable defense and his bat would make him worth the investment. Even still, Fangraphs rated his 2017 defense at 8.8, while his bat was worth 2.1. Considering his bat (and wheels) make up most of the logic of going shopping in Miami, his glove is just a great big leather cherry on top.
The real issue with this whole idea is trying to figure out how the Blue Jays can pull off such a deal for a guy who is guaranteed to earn more than $37M over the next 3 seasons (he has a $14M option for 2021). But, this could be what makes him easier to obtain. The Miami Marlins are going through an ownership transition. Derek Jeter and Co. have made it clear that they want to shake things up and shed some of their expensive assets. Many will automatically jump on Giancarlo Stanton, which is Pipe Dreaming 101, frankly.
Instead, the Marlins could look to unload what really only seems like a heavy contract. The Blue Jays would certainly be in a position to take on that money, especially if you consider that doing so could limit the cost of obtaining Gordon in the first place. When teams take on money, they generally have to part with lesser prospect packages. That means that Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette and some other future stars could be protected, thus keeping the future in tact. That isn’t to say that Toronto wouldn’t have to fork over young talent. They would. But, taking on money limits the damage.
Look, in a perfect world, Devon Travis would be healthy and second base would not be a concern. The reality is that Travis can’t be counted on, as sad as that is. For different reasons, neither can Ryan Goins. The more you think on it, the more vital it is for the Blue Jays to “go for it” this winter. They can’t afford to mess around. Bringing in Dee Gordon would certainly be the opposite of ‘messing around’. He brings a presence in every facet of the game.
So, get ready. Until the much smarter front office finds a better option, or this move is made, I will be shouting all winter: BRING ME DEE GORDON!
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.