Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dee Gordon deserves another chance in light of Hanley Ramirez injury

As news broke this morning of Hanley Ramirez's injury (out at least eight weeks), the reality of Juan Uribe remaining with the club became a virtual lock.

Manager Don Mattingly already said Luis Cruz would take over at shortstop for Ramirez, which makes a little sense, I suppose. But I'd rather see Dee Gordon take it and have Cruz remain at third base.

Gordon, who is having a nice spring, needs to prove his worth when (not if) Uribe fails.

Gordon had a fantastic spring in 2012, but he basically fell flat on his face after being anointed the Dodgers' starting shortstop. Perhaps the pressure on him was too much to handle. Perhaps he just isn't that good a baseball player. But he earned praise as a prospect and we always knew his bat would determine whether he would make it in the majors.

In a month or so (hopefully), he'll have a chance to show what he's made of.

Hopefully, Gordon can improve his trade value with some extended playing time, as the Indians and Mariners were among the teams interested in him this winter.

Gordon has a chance to be a dynamic player, but he needs to do things that will lead to his success. Mastering the bunt single, hitting the ball on the ground and, the biggest thing, learn to take a walk.

If Gordon could even post a .330-.340 on-base percentage, he'd be a valuable player. With that, he could easily swipe 50 bases, if not more. He isn't going to hit home runs, which is fine, but he needs to be less of a free-swinger and develop some plate discipline.

If it sounds like I'm rooting for Uribe to fail, I kinda am. If that makes me a bad fan, sobeit. But I'm tired of seeing inferior players (not to say Gordon is that much better than Uribe) continue to get opportunities over potentially superior players is infuriating.

Uribe has worked a bunch at first base this spring, but he's most "valuable" at third base because of his strong throwing arm. Unfortunately, that's about all he's good for.

This isn't a great situation for the Dodgers to be in by any means. They didn't expect their power-hitting shortstop to miss the first two months of the season, but here we are. The Dodgers have a lot of talented players, but losing a guy who provides the type of potential offense Ramirez does at short is going to be tough to overcome in the short-term.

Luckily, the season is six months long. If Ramirez is back and fully healthy by June 1, I'll consider it a victory. The left side of the Dodger infield will just have to tread water until HanRam (yeah, I don't like the moniker, either) returns.

Photo credits: Dustin Nosler, Feelin' Kinda Blue

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