The Seattle Mariners have acquired Dee Gordon from the Miami Marlins in exchange for minor league prospects.
Gordon, a middle infielder with the Marlins, is going to play center field for the Mariners, filling the lone hole in the team's outfield.
“Dee provides us with a dynamic presence at the top of our lineup,” general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “He’s a two-time All-Star and former National League batting champion who is electric on the basepaths, having already won three stolen base titles. His athleticism will be an asset both in our lineup and in the middle of our outfield for several seasons to come.
"We’re going to play Dee in center field. It’s a conversation that’s already occurred. We’re very excited about bringing on this kind of athlete … his athletic ability is obvious to those who watch, but his ability to close ground, and more specifically, his launchability, that first-step burst that Dee gets is on par with the elite center fielders in baseball. We feel like that gives him a chance to be a separator in center field.”
Seattle sent pitchers Nick Neidert and Robert Dugger, and infielder Christopher Torres to the Marlins in exchange for Gordon. The Mariners also reportedly acquired $1 million in international slot money from Miami, giving them more funds to chase Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani.
"It's nice to have," Dipoto said on a conference call with reporters.
The slot money gives Seattle a total of $3.557 million, which is the most of any team. The Texas Rangers previously held the monetary advantage with $3.535 million. The Mariners acquired an additional $1 million of slot money on Wednesday in sending catcher David Banuelos to the Minnesota Twins.
Gordon hit .308 with Miami last season with a .341 on-base percentage. He stole 60 bases last season, which led all of baseball. He's led the majors in stolen bases in three of the last four seasons. He won the National League batting title in 2015, batting .333 in 145 games.
"I was shocked," Gordon said of being asked to play center field. "I had honestly never heard of a situation where a guy who was a gold glove caliber player at his position turning over to a new position. I was definitely shocked. But at the end of the day, I am a team player and that's what I got to do for the Seattle Mariners and that's what's best for them and that's what I've got to do.
"I'm just (going) to do it. I don't feel any way either way. I haven't done it yet so I just got to see what it's like and play to best of my ability."
Gordon played a handful of games in center field in the Dominican Winter League in 2013 while a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. He's been a shortstop and second baseman exclusively during his major league career.
"Honestly, I played there pretty well," Gordon said. "Just kind of winging it so hopefully with some good teaching, some major league caliber teaching... I see myself as a fast learner and, like I told Jerry, I just want to compete for a gold glove an help this team win."
Dipoto said the focus will be on Gordon playing center field exclusively in order to commit to learning his new position. He added that Gordon lives near Ken Griffey Jr. in Florida and intends to reach out to him about transitioning to the outfield.
Gordon didn't seem particularly thrilled with the idea of moving to the outfield. His agency released a statement saying he was not asked prior to the trade about the idea of moving to center field. However, Gordon said he's extremely excited to play with Robinson Cano and that softened the blow.
"Yeah. Just, wow. Robinson Cano is a dream come true for me to play with," Gordon said. "I watched that guy play with my dad as a rookie and he's always been awesome to me and this is a dream and if I have to move - I'm not going to lie to you and say that 'oh yeah, let me move' because I worked really hard, really, really hard, to become one of the best second basemen in baseball, but if it's anybody I would have to move for it would be Robbie."
Photo Credit: MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 01: Dee Gordon #9 of the Miami Marlins looks on during a game against the Atlanta Braves at Marlins Park on October 1, 2017 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)