Seattle Mariners: The 5 Most Disappointing Acquisitions of 2018
By Ty Gonzalez
2B/OF DEE GORDON
I never would have imagined writing this after seeing the kind of start Dee Gordon got off to this year. Highlighted by a 12-game hit streak to open the season, Gordon finished the month of April slashing .309/.339/.400. Pair that with his electric personality that drove the identity of this ballclub, the Mariners had seemingly struck gold.
The biggest question mark about Gordon was his move to center field. With Robinson Canó at the helm of Gordon’s career home of second base, Seattle had hoped his elite speed and athletic ability would translate well to one of the hardest positions in all of baseball. Given the circumstances, Gordon held his own on most occasions.
Things quickly changed when Canó was suspended for 80 games, leaving a major hole at a position the Mariners had zero depth at. All of Gordon’s offseason preparation for his center field switch had gone out the window, as the M’s required his skillset back at his natural position.
Just a week later, Gordon found himself on the disabled list with a toe injury. After that, his production both offensively and defensively dwindled. The final numbers Gordon posted were unlike anything in his career, in a bad way. Coming off a 7.5 UZR season at second base in 2017, Gordon finished 2018 with a -3.5 UZR at a position he was just three years removed from winning a Gold Glove at.
At the plate, Gordon finished with a league-worst 1.5 BB%, which resulted in his demotion from the leadoff spot in Seattle’s lineup. Consequently, he also finished just outside the bottom 10 in on-base percentage. While he was never an elite player in either stat, these were awfully unpredictable marks. The injury also seemed to have greatly affected his speed and athleticism, as he posted his lowest stolen base total in a full season at 30. For comparison, he swiped 30 bags in a suspension-shortened 2016 campaign, in which he only played 79 games.
Gordon and the team’s collective struggles began to build up a tension that led to a clubhouse confrontation between he and Jean Segura. This may result in the departure of one or both of these players, with Gordon and his $13 million salary being the more favorable choice.