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Dee Gordon and second base

Some thoughts on Dodgers shortstop Dee Gordon taking ground balls at second base in Triple-A Albuquerque.


Dee Gordon, the one who reached base five times on Thursday to earn Brandon Lennox's minor league player of the day, is taking ground balls at second base, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times wrote about the move on Wednesday:

This is not because second baseman Mark Ellis is more seriously hurt than the Dodgers are letting on and are prepping Gordon as some emergency fill-in. It is apparently a more long-term consideration.

And anyone who watched Gordon struggle at shortstop for the Dodgers last season will understand that thought.

Despite his athleticism, Gordon struggled with balls hit to the hole and his throwing was wholly erratic. He did not seem a ready-for-prime-time shortstop, but apparently it hasn’t gone a whole lot better early this season with the Isotopes.

Mike Petriello at Mike Scioscia's Tragic Illness isn't thrilled with the idea:

The simple fact is that a good second baseman is inherently less valuable than a good shortstop, so to move him right now seems like a quick way to diminish whatever value he has left. Gordon’s two biggest strengths in the field are his speed and his strong arm, each of which would be less valuable at second. If the decision is made at some point that Gordon can’t handle shortstop, then by all means move him, but it certainly seems premature to say that at this point.

Besides, can you even say off the top of your head whether the majority of Gordon’s errors have come on fielding the ball or on throws? I bet you can’t. I know I can’t without looking it up, and I’m sure most calling for this move can’t either. It would seem like important information, if the main push here is "it’s a shorter throw!"

For what it's worth, I did some research. Seven of Gordon's 18 errors at shortstop for the Dodgers in 2012 were of the throwing variety, and three of his seven errors this year in Triple-A have been throwing miscues.

But to Petriello's larger point, I don't think this hurts Gordon's value at all, either to the Dodgers or if they were to trade him. Teams wanting to trade for Gordon can make their own decision about where to play him, and they already know what they are getting regardless of where the Dodgers play him. If the Dodgers are intent at keeping Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, Gordon has no place to play until after 2014, the final season of Ramirez's contract. Why not try to see if Gordon can play second base, a position he could presumably step in and play next year if the Dodgers decline the option of Mark Ellis.

After all, that's what the minors are for. If a move to second base works and gets Gordon back to the majors sooner, good for him. If it doesn't work, oh well. But it doesn't hurt to try.