Opinion of Kingman's Performance

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Gordon To Learn The Outfield, Why I'm All For It.

(photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

On other blogs I’m reading the criticisms of the Dodgers potentially moving Dee Gordon to the outfield and I understand where they are coming from.   I respect the opinions, but I don't buy into them.   I  don’t see the harm in letting Dee learn to play the outfield.  I think it'll make him a more versatile player, and a more valuable one.  With Don Mattingly committing to play Hanley Ramirez at shortstop this year, it's probably a good idea.

At 25 years old, we all agree that Gordon needs to show us more from the offensive side and to raise his on base percentage substantially.  Last year’s sophomore stint in the Majors proved that.  And though I have argued for two years now that Gordon needs to nix the head first slide since he’s so injury prone and go in feet first, the shortstop position makes him more susceptible to collisions and injuries, something he has failed to escape in his two years of major league play.  Remember in 2011, he injured himself applying a tag on a run down while playing short. 

I’d much rather that Gordon be calling off infielders to catch those pop-ups running towards them what he’s doing now, which is ignoring his outfielders and running all out backwards to make acrobatic catches.  It is only a matter of time before two players are lost to injury on that sort of play.

Dee Gordon makes acrobatic catch, as incoming left fielder Bobby Abreu looks on (photo by Harry How/Getty Images, 5/9/2012)
Dee hustles his tail off and I don’t put anyone ahead of him in work ethic, but sometimes I wonder where his head is.   His reckless approach to catching pop ups is an example.   When he was forcing Adrian Gonzalez to make acrobatic catches on routine plays at short during the final game of the season last year, I don’t recall seeing a shortstop looking so lost and with such a minimal amount of confidence in his abilities since Jose Offerman stood out there twenty years ago.  At Licey in the Dominican WInter League, Gordon continued to struggle defensively at short.

So I know your next question:  “If he’s an outfielder, where is he going to play since Crawford, Kemp and Ethier are entrenched in the three slots?”  Good question.  I don’t have an answer to that, but then again, you never know when an injury or two will surface.  I can't see Gordon starting at shortstop for the Dodgers over the next two years.  Maybe Dee's  future is as a super utility player.  Maybe a Chone Figgins type.  Perhaps it's as a Michael Bourn or Brett Butler type of center fielder, but with a rifle arm.  If it is, he probably won't be a Dodger, but that's another topic for another day.

I know this though, I can see him gunning out runners from the warning track.  I can picture him calling off corner outfielders and making acrobatic diving catches.  I can imagine him scaling walls and leaping over fences as he robs guys of home runs.  When I see Dee playing short now, I picture balls being thrown into the first base dugout,  bobbles, and double clutches.

I'm not saying he should give up his infield pursuit, but adding the outfield to his resume will only strengthen Gordon as a player and possible trading chit in the future.  There are those that see Dee as a future second baseman in the organization, and that may be, but it sure would be a waste of that cannon he has of an arm.


  1. I am very skeptical on Dee at any position. He can't hit. He doesn't have good plate discipline. In spite of his speed he is a mediocre base runner because of terrible instincts. He's a bad fielder.

    Other than that he has a great future.

  2. I'm not quite ready to give up on Gordon yet after 563 plate appearances. He has played the equivalent of one full season in the majors, and they have been injury plagued at that. There's no doubt that o be an effective leadoff hitter, his plate discipline needs to get better. I'd like to see some more development for another year and maybe the outfield will come to him much easier than playing shortstop. There's one tool that can't be taught, and that's speed. He has that already. Improvement can occur in the other areas.

  3. Dee was late to the game having concentrated initially on basketball. Perhaps he has yet to catch up.

    Whether it be SS or CF I don't think there is a future for him with the Dodgers, according to how the team is being constructed.

    I had hoped he would have been converted to 2B where there may well be a future as a Dodger.