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Marlins trade (center fielder?) Dee Gordon to Mariners

The NL’s leading base-stealer heads back west after three seasons in Miami, where he’ll attempt a position change.

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins didn’t wait for the Winter Meetings to begin cleansing their payroll of onerous contracts. All-Star second baseman Dee Gordon is headed to the Seattle Mariners, as first reported by The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal. The trade is now official:

Gordon set career highs in games (158) and plate appearances (695) last season to go along with a .308/.341/.375 batting line and a National League-best 60 stolen bases. Overall, he slashed .309/.340/.384 with 148 steals during his three Marlins campaigns. He was also one of the most marketable players on the team, originally arriving in Miami in a 2014 trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

But there’s a twist: Sirius XM’s Jim Bowden hears that the Mariners expect to convert Gordon into a center fielder. Across seven MLB seasons, he has never played a defensive inning anywhere but the middle infield.

Speaking to the media immediately after the news broke, he sounded more than willing to make that major adjustment (h/t Ryan Divish, Seattle Times):

Jarrod Dyson primarily manned that position for Seattle in 2017. He’s now a free agent. Guillermo Heredia also saw significant action in center, but doesn’t contribute as much as a hitter or baserunner.

The Mariners also receive a $1 million increase to their international bonus pool. They’ve already been revealed as a finalist in the bidding for two-way Japanese star Shohei Ohtani, and that extra spending allowance can be used to seal the deal.

In return, the Fish get right-handed pitchers Nick Neidert and Robert Dugger, and infielder Christopher Torres.

Neidert, 21, ranked as Seattle’s No. 2 prospect, per Torres was seventh on that same list. All three come as much-needed reinforcements to Miami’s thin farm system.

Nick Neidert with the High-A Modesto Nuts in 2017.
Photo courtesy of MLB Pipeline.

Approaching his 30th birthday, Gordon was owed $10.8 million for next season. Overall, he had $38.9 million remaining on a contract that ran through 2020 with a club option for 2021. The Mariners will be absorbing every cent of it.

As SiriusXM’s Craig Mish notes, this move could open the floodgates for the Marlins to unload several other key veterans. Giancarlo Stanton, in particular, was believed to be nearing a decision on whether to accept a trade—either to the San Francisco Giants or St. Louis Cardinals—before this news broke.