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Dodgers 2014 profile: Dee Gordon, first step, make Australia trip

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Since the end of 2013 season, Gordon has been preparing for a new job, that of a utility player.

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

It was two years ago when Dee Gordon entered in spring training as the Dodger starting shortstop.  The Dodgers traded Rafael Furcal to give Gordon an opportunity to stake his claim to that spot and he did so, hitting .304/.325/.362 in 233 plate appearances while stealing 24 bases in 31 attempts.

A year ago, Gordon had Hanley Ramirez and a clubhouse full of veteran utility players ahead of him for a spot on the roster. Thus, Gordon had 401 more plate appearances in Triple-A Albuquerque in 2013 than he did in 2012.  Despite that, Gordon had a spot on the playoff roster as a pinch-runner, but he was caught stealing in his one attempt.

During last Saturday's game against the Seattle Mariners, Ned Colletti spoke to Dodger radio broadcaster, Rick Monday about the state of the team.  Monday asked Colletti about Dee Gordon and Colletti said he and Gordon met after the season about his future.  Colletti said that Gordon wanted to do everything he could to help the team and be on the Dodgers in 2014.

That is when the plan began for Gordon to play second in winter ball as well as some outfield to increase Gordon's versatility.  Gordon hit .381/426/.397 in 68 plate appearances during two separate stints in the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

Gordon has had one thing on his mind since spring training began this season: getting on the airplane to Australia. When Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register asked Gordon on Sunday about some type of bonus of leading the Cactus League in stolen bases, Gordon said his "bonus is getting on that airplane."

About Gordon's transition, he said the hardest part was learning the angles, the game "seems slower" at second base but overall, Gordon didn't think anything was particularly difficult.

Gordon knows that fly balls to left won't help his cause, Gordon isn't going to attempt to bunt during every plate appearance but he will look for opportunities, even with two strikes.

"We still want to make sure the way he's hitting, he makes sure he knows who he is as a hitter. Bunting is part of his game, keeping the ball out of the air is part of the things we talk to Dee about," manager Don Mattingly said last week. "We'll continue to stay on him about his game offensively."

Mattingly has been impressed with Gordon on defense at his new position

"Dee's been solid with his defense, he's made all the plays," Mattingly said. "Obviously he's going to have to keep working at second base, but we're comfortable with the way he looks."

Gordon has played a little outfield this spring and that along with his new position at second and his history at shortstop makes Gordon a lock to make the 25-man roster, whether he's the starting second baseman or a utility man, and be on that plane next week.

Trivia

My 2013 prediction:

I see a call up or two for Gordon with about 110 PA and a .245/.310/.300 line with 11 stolen bases.

was a virtual match, Gordon had 106 PA, .234/.314/.298 line with 10 SB (out of 12 attempts)

In real trivia, Nick Gordon, Dee Gordon's brother, is projected to be a high draft pick in the 2014 Baseball Amateur draft.

Contract status

Gordon on March 2 signed a one-year deal for 2014, likely a little bit above the major league minimum salary of $500,000.  Gordon has one year, 154 days of service time, making him a prime Super Two candidate for arbitration eligibility next winter. Gordon has one option year remaining.

Previous profiles

2011: Speeding Toward Greatness?

2012: Speed Demon

2013: becoming a baseball player

Stats

Year Age PA 2B SB BA/OBP/SLG wOBA
2011 Albuquerque (AAA) 23 313 10 30 .333/.370/.410 .352
2011 Los Angeles
23 233 9 24 .304/.325/.362 .304
2012 Albuquerque (AAA) 24 32 0 2 .267.313/.333 .293
2012 Los Angeles 24 330 9 32 .228/.280/.281 .253
2013 Albuquerque (AAA) 25 433 17 49 .287/.385/.390 .357
2013 Los Angeles 25 106 1 10 .234/.314/.298 .273
2014 projections - Age 26 season
Source PA 2B SB BA/OBP/SLG wOBA
Bill James 201 6 22 .263/.322/.317 .290
Oliver 600 18 40 .249/.315/.304 .261
PECOTA 361 12 34 .255/.305/.328 .284
Steamer 246 8 19 .246/.303/.312 .276
ZiPS 529 14 41 .251/.303/.315 .277


2014 outlook

Along with Justin Turner and Alex Guerrero, Gordon should see time at second base and also as a utility player.  I see Gordon getting 280 plate appearances with .265/.320/.308 line with 22 stolen bases.  What's your guess?