Heading into the offseason, it felt like a foregone conclusion that the Mariners would get younger at the second base position in 2020. That may be put on hold for a bit.
No matter how popular of a sports figure Dee Gordon has become in Seattle, the general consensus is that his time in the navy and teal is just about up. Coming off back-to-back seasons of sub-80 wRC+ production and a slide in defensive value, Gordon, about to enter his age 32 season, holds little value to the Mariners at this point in his career.
With that in mind and a $13.8 million price tag attached to him for the 2020 campaign, he doesn’t hold much value to many organizations right now. Currently, it feels like the Mariners may be stuck with him, or they’ll at least have to bite the bullet to open up second base for Shed Long.
Their options are limited: either eat nearly all of his salary to deal him and get something in return, DFA him, or keep him. Even if they were able to work out a trade, whatever they would receive back likely wouldn’t be noteworthy, but that’s better than getting absolutely nothing by flat-out cutting him and still having to pay his full salary, right?
There are benefits to the tertiary option of keeping him, however. For starters, Gordon has been great for a clubhouse that lacks a ton of veteran presence. Many of the Mariners’ young players have gravitated towards Gordon and could use his guidance in their development into major leaguers. There’s also the off chance that things could turn around for him on the field and his trade value may grow as his salary hit decreases.
The problem is getting him on the field and what that means for Long. Yes, Long is capable of manning several positions, but second base appears to be where the Mariners are most comfortable with him moving forward. It would be unwise to further impede Long’s development, and as long as Kyle Seager is healthy and the Mariners’ outfield remains a bit log jammed with several young players of its own, there just isn’t a clear path to get him consistent playing time anywhere other than second base.
Seattle has to make some sort of decision on Gordon rather soon, for the potential benefit of Long and what that could mean for the future of the Mariners’ organization as they move closer to their intended window of contention. It may not be the easiest decision in the world, but moving on from Gordon, perhaps for nothing at all, may be the necessary choice.