It's difficult not to continue to rave about what Dee Gordon accomplished in 2015. After limited expectations coming into the season, he raced out of the gates and ended up pacing the league in hits, batting average, stolen bases and fielding percentage at second base. Even though Gordon is not eligible for free agency until 2019, the Marlins are looking to lock up their speedy lead-off hitter.
Much like they did with Christian Yelich, the Fish will be trying to "buy" Dee Gordon's arbitration years and then the first year or two of free agency. By doing that, they not only get to keep one of the most dynamic players in baseball in a Marlins uniform, but they can control their spending for the next few seasons as well, as arbitration hearings can get pricey in a hurry. If Miami is able to sign Dee Gordon to an extension, what would the contract look like?
Dee Gordon will turn 28 at the end of April. He mans one of the most physically demanding positions in the game, and the main factor of his game is speed, both in the field and on the basepaths. As a result of those two factors, although Gordon is in his prime right now, his game will likely deteriorate quickly once he starts getting into his thirties. By the end of his arbitration years (in four more seasons), Dee Gordon would be 31 years old, so don't expect the contract to be longer than five or six years in total.
Now for the important part; the money. Brandon Crawford, who plays shortstop for the Giants, recently signed a six-year, $75 million contract extension heading into his age-29 season. Most analysts around the league felt that this was a reasonable deal for both sides. However, this sort of contract may be a little bit on the expensive side for the Marlins. One should look to Christian Yelich's contract extension signed this spring as a more realistic reference point.
Yelich and the Fish inked a seven-year (with a club option for an eighth year), $49.5 million deal. Obviously, Yelich is still 23 and has a lot left to prove in the majors, but the main thing was that his contract was heavily backloaded, like Giancarlo Stanton's. It seems like owner Jeffrey Loria is not keen on spending now, and would prefer to put it off until later in contracts when the team is, hopefully, winning championships and generating more revenue.
So, Gordon would likely earn less than Crawford (especially if Hechavarria is wanting an extension, too), but more than Yelich due to his greater experience in the majors. The contract will be back-loaded to follow the recent trend the organization has set, and all of the arbitration years will be bought, as well as one or two free agent seasons. Do not expect to see a no-trade clause, though.
After just one season with the Fish, Gordon is rightly deserving of a commitment to his future from this team. He energized the team, and the crowd. There's no doubt that it will be fun to see Dee Gordon chase 200 hits and 60 stolen bases for the second straight season in MIami.
Contract Prediction: Five years (with a team option for a sixth), $65 million