On December 12, 2013 the Seattle Mariners signed free agent second baseman Robinson Cano to a 10-year, $240M deal. On December 7, 2017 the Mariners acquired second baseman Dee Gordon from the Miami Marlins garage sale.

Just as interesting as the acquisition of Gordon, the Mariners also acquired $1-Million of international pool money. The Mariners are one of the fortunate seven to have a meeting with Shohei Ohtani and now have the most available money to offer him.

Although, with or without Ohtani, Gordon is great for the Mariners.

SPEED and ATHLETICISM

Gordon will enter the Emerald City outfield hoping his speed and athleticism translates into many highlight catches. Not known for his arm strength, the NL stolen base leader three of the past four seasons will look to keep the ball off the ground. Nicknamed “Flash”, he has expressed excitement about playing alongside Robinson Cano and used that to fuel him to accept his newest challenge – learning center field.

THE TRANSITION

Gordon will not be the first infielder to be put to the test in the outfield. The heir apparent to the stolen base crown in the NL Billy Hamilton was a shortstop until the 2012 Arizona Fall League prepped him in the outfield in advance of his debut for the Cincinnati Reds.

A career .293 batting average as compared to Hamilton’s .248 mark is why Gordon is taken several rounds higher than Hamilton in fantasy leagues. Unlike career second baseman Jason Kipnis in Cleveland last season, Gordon will have all winter and spring training to prepare himself for the big move.

The 2017 Mariners were already tied for 13th overall in steals but Seattle’s center fielders last season combined for a league third worst OBP (on base percentage) of .299. Gordon’s OBP last season was .341.

Typically a lead-off hitter, Gordon moves to the American League for the first time in his career. With the number nine hitter for the M’s better than the large majority of National League pitchers, there should be more RBI opportunities because the inning should not end quite as often with Gordon in the on-deck circle.

With all due respect to the trio of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, the Seattle threesome of Cano, Nelson Cruz and Kyle Seager should spike the numbers of run scored by Gordon. Last season the Marlins outscored the Mariners by 28 but safe to say if this trade would have happened a year ago with all other moving parts staying the same, the Mariners would have won that category.

OTHER MARINER IMPROVEMENTS

For the second year in a row the M’s went to the A’s for a new first baseman. The hopes are much higher for the 25-year-old Ryon Healy than they ever were for 33-year-old Danny Valencia. Also, let’s come to grips with the reality that King Felix is no longer must watch TV, but let’s also realize that the Mike Leake acquistion last August 30th was largely downplayed.

That’s over 400 words since my last mention of Ohtani.

People often talk about the “even year” San Francisco Giants because of their World Series championships. On a smaller scale, the Mariners won 87 games in 2014, 86 games in 2016 and with the pickup of Gordon have set the bar at 85 for 2018. 85 was the win total for the 2017 AL Wild Card Minnesota Twins.

For those Gordon haters stuck on his previous PED suspension here’s an image of Gordon that for a moment froze North America.

Fellow Win Column’er Arik Kruse agrees with my take on the Mariners:

Disclaimer: If the Angels get Ohtani (I do not consider the Rangers a threat) then the Mariners would need to add one more pitcher to keep my far too early Wild Card prediction.

With or Without Shohei Ohtani, Dee Gordon Great For The Seattle Mariners

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