Height: 5'11" Weight: 168
Bats/Throws: Left / Right
Born: 04/22/1988 in Windermere, Florida
Offseason home: Windermere, Florida
Acquired: In trade from the Miami Marlins, with international slot money, for Robert Dugger, Nick Neidert, and Christopher Torres (12/07/2017)
MLB Debut: 06/06/2011
Free Agent after: 2021 season
Twitter handle: @FlashGJr
No one represents the Mariners' hot start in 2019 better than Gordon. His exuberance in the dugout is rivaled only by his performance on the field, which has been outstanding. The recent series in Kansas City was one of Dee's best ever—he batted .563/.563/.875 in the four-game sweep, including a home run, stole a base, and made several highlight-reel-worthy plays defensively, all the while cheering on his teammates with enthusiasm.
The league leader in steals in the early going, Gordon has his eye on a fourth stolen base crown this year, having led his league in 2014, '15, and '17. In the Kansas City series, he seemed to be changing his ways and slid feet-first on his steal and extra-base hits, a welcome sight as he has already suffered two serious injuries from head-first slides in his career. However, when he stole second against Houston the very next game, he was back to the head-first dive. We'd like to see Dee and all the Mariners use the feet-first technique more often than not, but it's all good so long as he gets up unharmed.
Dee Gordon wants to convince us that last year was an aberration. Not only was he shuffled back and forth between the outfield and the infield and between second and short, he played most of the year with a broken toe. Throw in some bad blood between him and now-ex-Mariner shortstop Jean Segura later in the season and you have a somewhat discombobulated former batting champ.
So will this year be different? Well, pain-free feet will help. Gordon's game relies upon his speed, and 2018 saw him steal fewer bases than in any full season since he was in short-season rookie league and his batting average on balls in play was nearly 40 points below his career number. Since he's never been one to take a lot of pitches, he depends on hits to get on base and thus his OBP last year was under .300 for the first time since a half-season in the bigs in 2012. That last point is something Gordon was tasked with working on in spring training: learning to work the count more and draw the occasional walk. In Cactus League play he managed five bases on balls in 12 games, which might not sound like much, but consider in all of last season he drew only nine.
So, with healthy toes, an attempt at more plate discipline, and being solidly back in his defensive comfort zone at second base, Gordon may well revert to the form that saw him win a National League batting title and three stolen base crowns. It will also help to have Perry Hill on the coaching staff—Seattle's new first-base and infield coach was Gordon's infield coach in Miami, where they forged a bond that Gordon credits for winning him the Gold Glove in 2015. Having "bestie" Wade LeBlanc on the team with him again can't hurt, either. We'll see how it plays out, but expecting a bounce-back campaign from him would not be out of line.
The son of former Major League reliever Tom "Flash" Gordon, Dee spends a great deal of time and money on charitable causes. In addition to working with organizations in the Dominican Republic and that aid Syrian refugees, Gordon traveled to Rwanda over the winter to distribute aid and of course continued his work with Flash of Hope, a program he started for children who have lost a parent to domestic violence—something he went through himself when his mother was shot and killed by an ex-boyfriend when Dee was six. It's a devastating experience, to be sure, and Gordon wants to help others through it. “I just want to show them that the world isn’t over for them," he said, "that they’re going to be all right.”