I joke, but only mostly. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports that Dee Gordon is listed as an outfielder for Dominican Winter League team, Tigres del Licey, and it makes sense at this point. (The MLB.com roster page still says “SS”, but Ken Gurnick says he “will play the outfield,” and that team does have Jurickson Profar, so that’s good enough for me.)
Licey’s own site put out a release saying that Gordon would be in uniform for tonight’s game against Aguilas, though it appears he didn’t play, and they refer to his time there last season in “his original position of shortstop,” so there’s that.
There’s also this, which isn’t really related but is still worth sharing:
While I was against a Gordon position switch at one point, arguing that a move off of shortstop would cut his already limited value, I’ve changed my opinion, because I no longer have a lot of faith that he can handle short. He’s had more than a full season of play to prove that he can’t, and it’s not like it’s steadily improved, either. (Not to put undue importance on one game, but I assume no one’s forgotten his three-error mess on August 11, after which he never really played again.) Since the Dodgers are overstuffed with outfielders and have just about nothing behind Hanley Ramirez at shortstop, I’m guessing the team is more than convinced he can’t handle it either.
We’ve seen infielders who proved they couldn’t handle the left side move to the outfield before, whether it was shortstops like B.J. Upton & Billy Hamilton or third basemen like Alex Gordon & Ryan Braun. The difference is that Alex Gordon & Braun are elite hitters, and Upton was productive before cratering this year. Hamilton is probably the player most closely associated with Dee Gordon, but his speed seems to be even better.
Gordon’s minor league line is superior to Hamilton’s, though of course he’s proven that he can’t hit big league pitching, while Hamilton hasn’t yet had that opportunity. And that’s really the point, here, because it’s great to get Gordon some added flexibility and hope that maybe he can be a useful multipositional player in the bigs. But if he can’t improve his batting skills to be something less than putrid in the bigs, it’s not going to matter where he can or can’t play in the field.
Hoping that he can maybe be a bench player is a long, long way away from when we’d hoped he might be a star, isn’t it?