If the Seattle Mariners start an all-out rebuild this offseason, the Chicago Cubs should pounce and acquire All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon.
Could the Chicago Cubs fill two holes entering the 2019 season by acquiring just one player?
Tuesday, Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reported the Seattle Mariners are considering “a full-fledged teardown this winter.” The Mariners won 89 games in 2018, good enough for just third place in the American League West.
Seattle finished behind the 103-win Houston Astros and 97-win Oakland A’s in the AL West in 2018. The fact that they are considering a rebuild is somewhat interesting, as the A’s seem due for a regression from their surprise season.
Go for Gordon
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If the Mariners do blow their roster up this offseason, though, the Cubs must pursue a trade for second baseman Dee Gordon.
Gordon, 30, is still relatively young and figures to have, at least, a few more productive years ahead of him. In 2018, his first season with the Mariners, he hit .268 in .556 at-bats.
Of the 134 games that he started in 2018, Gordon hit leadoff in 99 of them. He collected 149 hits in 141 games, a rather large drop from the 201 hits he collected in 158 games in 2017.
While Gordon’s hits total decreasing from 2017 somewhat alarming, he did play in 17 fewer games in 2018. One would think that the drop would have been less significant if he did not sit out 21 of the Mariners’ games.
However, one thing fans should be concerned about regarding Gordon is his on-base percentage. From 2017 to 2018, Gordon’s OBP dropped from .341 to an alarming .288, surely because he walked just nine times in 2018.
Find the middle ground
For the record, nine walks are Gordon’s lowest season total in his career, minimum 57 games. His career OBP is just .322, though his career best for a season is .359 (in 145 games in 2015).
Basically, it is reasonable to think that Gordon can do better than his .288 OBP in 2018. After all, he has collected at least 149 hits in four of the past five seasons.
The lone exception is 2016, where Gordon played in just 79 games after being suspended 80 games for a performance-enhancing drugs violation.
The Cubs have had a revolving door at leadoff in their lineup since letting Dexter Fowler walk in free agency following the 2016 season. Fowler’s .360 career OBP is far greater than Gordon’s .322.
Still, Gordon showed in 2015 and 2017 that he can get on base at a respectable rate. Really, he would add the most stability the Cubs’ leadoff spot has seen since Fowler left. His speed is also a big plus (58, 30, 60, 30 stolen bases from 2015 to 2018, respectively).
Versatile defender fits the Cubs’ mold
Gordon is a natural second baseman, though he started 2018 as the Mariners’ center fielder. He switched back to second base after Robinson Cano got suspended 80 games himself for performance-enhancing drugs, however.
With the uncertainty surrounding Addison Russell‘s future with the Cubs, acquiring Gordon would provide clarity for the Cubs’ lineup and defense. If Russell returns to the Cubs in 2019, the team could move Gordon to the outfield as the Mariners did.
If Chicago acquired Gordon to play second base, though, their defense would be in good hands (pun intended). Gordon won a Gold Glove Award in 2015 at second base the Miami Marlins.
With Gordon at second base and Javier Báez at shortstop, the Cubs would still hold one of the best defensive infields in baseball. The bottom line is that Gordon could help the team in more ways than one.
Ultimately, nothing is official regarding a potential Mariners’ rebuild. If the time comes where Seattle starts fielding offers, though, the Cubs would be wise to check-in regarding Gordon’s availability.