Despite a valiant effort from Giancarlo Stanton over just 74 games, Dee Gordon was probably Miami's best player in 2015. The speedster led the National League in hits and stolen bases, and won a Gold Glove. After a highly impressive first year with the team, there had been interest on both sides this winter in signing Gordon to a long-term contract.
As of yesterday afternoon a deal still hadn't been reached, though, and that was slightly concerning considering that Gordon was arbitration-eligible, and the deadline for negotiating contracts is this Friday. If Friday had come and gone, and no contract had been agreed, then the Marlins and Gordon would have gone to court, and that is not what the club wanted.
Ken Rosenthal wrote that signing Dee Gordon to a multi-year contract was 'almost imperative' for the Fish. Otherwise, the second baseman could have gotten very expensive for Miami further down the line. Gordon is a Super Two player, so he was eligible for three years of arbitration. After Dee Gordon's historic 2015 season, the salary bar could have been set high in his first year of arbitration if the court agreed with his request.
The Marlins knew what sort of talent they had in Gordon, and they knew that they needed him in the lineup to compete with the top teams. This gave Gordon some bargaining power, but, as mentioned earlier, both camps had an incentive to get a deal done. It was clear to see that Dee Gordon enjoyed his first year in South Florida, and there was no better time for a payday than after a breakout season.
Miami was interested in signing Gordon long-term to not only help the team compete at a high level and win ballgames, but to also establish a sense of stability and continuity. After the 2012 season, the entire baseball world, particularly free agents, saw that if you sign a long-term contract with the Marlins, it does not mean that you will play there long-term.
The organization has started to erase the memories of that fire sale by signing homegrown talents Stanton and Christian Yelich to long-term contracts, as well as by bringing in an established manager in Don Mattingly. Now that another long-term contract is on the books, along with Wei-Yin Chen's, the Marlins are showing that they are becoming more committed to players and to winning, which will attract more players in the future.
Dee Gordon is one of the most electrifying Marlins to take the field in the last few years. He wanted to stay in Miami; the Marlins wanted him to stay in Miami. A long-term deal was a win-win situation for both sides, and the Fish will reap the benefits of this agreement for the next five years.