Second baseman Dee Gordon isn't known for his power, and after his first home run as a Miami Marlin, he still isn't. However, Gordon is known for his speed, and last night his most valuable skill was on full display when he hit the first inside-the-park home run since the ballpark's opening in 2012.
Gordon surpassed 20 miles per hour around the bases as he came all the way home in under 15 seconds. The 352 foot line drive would have been a home run in some ballparks if it was hit down the line, but in spacious Marlins Park, it landed in the gap. Gordon would have stopped at third if it wasn't for third base coach Lenny Harris waving him home after some questionable fielding by Gregor Blanco.
The home run was Gordon's first in 674 at bats according to WINZ, which was the longest active streak in the majors. The 27 year-old just continues to put together a strong first half. He leads the major leagues in hits (113) by nine over Jason Kipnis and he is second in steals (26) and batting average (.351). Gordon is in line to start in the midsummer classic, which would make him the first Marlins second baseman to be selected to an All-Star game since Dan Uggla in 2008.
Those good statistics and the Marlins' bad record means that Dee Gordon may be a candidate to be traded at the July 31st deadline. Even though the trade that brought Gordon and Dan Haren to Miami has worked out for the Fish, they paid a hefty price to have their services, as top prospect Andrew Heaney was sacrificed for a win-now approach. This approach hasn't worked as the Marlins continue to fall behind in the standings.
The Marlins could haul in a decent return for Gordon in a trade with a contender, but that doesn't mean they should execute such a move. Gordon is under club control for a few more seasons, and he should be a big part of the team's plans going forward as he can ignite the team like he showed last night. While the Marlins do need to seriously consider a rebuild, they should seriously consider keeping Dee Gordon.
The next few weeks will be interesting for Dee Gordon. Will he keep his lead in votes to start the All-Star Game at second base? Will he still play for the Marlins in August? The first question seems more likely every day, while the second, does not.
Gordon is now a part of Marlins Park history, whether he continues to play for the Fish or not. If there is one thing that this team needs, it is a spark. This means that the Marlins need Dee Gordon, that much is clear.