The Marlins’ long-awaited salary dump officially began on Thursday when the team shipped speedy second baseman Dee Gordon and $1 mil in international pool money to the Mariners in exchange for three prospects. Seattle is taking on Gordon’s entire salary and is switching him to centerfield, a move that surprised media members and Dee alike.
How does this affect Gordon for 2018 though?
The Marlins and Mariners were strikingly similar teams in 2017.
Marlins vs. Mariners Offense
In a vacuum, this might be a lateral move for Dee’s value. But given the direction the teams are trending, Seattle is a little bit better for his fantasy value next season. The Fish are tearing down and everyone is waiting to see where reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton decides to go. If Dee had inexplicably stayed, he’d have been without Stanton and potentially Marcell Ozuna or Christian Yelich, two names that keep floating as potential trade bait. In short, the run scoring would have gone down a fair amount as I expect the Marlins to tumble to a bottom 10 offense in baseball where as Mariners should remain a fringe top 10.
Now, he joins a pretty stacked Mariners team that has a projected lineup of:
CF Dee Gordon
SS Jean Segura
2B Robinson Cano
DH Nelson Cruz
3B Kyle Seager
RF Mitch Haniger
1B Ryon Healy
C Mike Zunino
LF Ben Gamel/Guillermo Heredia
That’s pretty damn solid. Tack on that he won’t have a pitcher hitting in front of him anymore and that adds a handful of runs.
Safeco Field played a hair better for LHB than Marlins Park (BP Runs Factor of 93 vs. 91). If you’re in a points league and love your triples, a bit of a bummer might be that Marlins park was a haven for triples from the left side while Safeco suppresses them (123 vs. 89).
If you own Gordon in a dynasty or long-term keeper league, then savor 2018, as it could very well be the last time he has 2B eligibility for a while. I wouldn’t hold my breath for too many off days for Robinson Cano where Dee Can sneak in a game or two: he’s one of the leagues notorious iron horses, playing in at least 150 games for the last decade. The ever-so-slight silver lining is his 150-game total from 2017 represents his lowest mark from 2006. He suffered a quad injury in May that necessitated a 10-day DL stint.
If you’re in a CBS or ESPN format, I’d forget about MI eligibility. In Yahoo, where only five starts are necessary for position eligibility, I’d say there’s a 10 percent chance of Gordon retaining 2B. Ultimately Mariners GM Jerry DiPoto is adamant on Gordon’s speed being utilized in CF.
And he’s a little older than you might think. He’ll be 30 at the end of April and we know speed is one of the fastest skills to decline with age. Though frankly I wouldn’t sweat it too much, he’ll be good for at least 40 steals for a few more years.
Nick Neidert, a 21-year-old righty, is the best prospect heading back to Miami. He’s listed a 6 foot 1 and has four pitches and and excellent command of them. As a result, his best trait is his elite control. He has just a 1.56 BB/9 in 254 career minor league innings. His fastball stays in the low 90s and won’t overpower you, but his sequencing is his trump card.
He impressed in 2017 in High-A, tossing 104.1 innings, striking out 109 with a 2.76 ERA (3.39 FIP). In a six-start stint in Double-A, he struggled mightily, giving up 17 ER in 23.1 IP and striking out just 13. The Marlins are in desperate need of pitching and he represents someone they can count on as early as 2019. They’re a franchise that’s not afraid to promote directly from Double-A so if Neidert can find his groove, a 2018 call up is not out of the realm of possibility. His ultimate upside might be a No.4 pitcher.
SS Chris Torres is more of a real-life prospect than a fantasy one to care about. Ranking seventh in the Mariners’ organization according to MLB.com, the 2014 signee from the D.R. has been a slow riser. Still just 19 (20 in early February), he’s an average runner with a subpar hit tool, good bat speed, and a frame that can unlock a little bit of pop in his bat. The switch hitter played 48 games in Low-A last season and slashed .238/.324/.435 and has yet to establish his approach from the right side. For fantasy purposes, he’s pretty irrelevant.
Robert Dugger is a 22-year-old starter drafted in the 18th round in 2016. Despite his low pedigree, he has an intriguing deceptive and aggressive delivery. I’ll let BP scout Wilson Karaman do the honors.
Here's video of Dugger starting for Modesto in August. Up-tempo, aggressive delivery with crossfire & some sling. He's fairly athletic though, & repeats well enough to stay around the zone. Fringy command/okay control profile plays with deception https://t.co/6F2s22B9Db #Marlins— Wilson Karaman (@vocaljavelins) December 7, 2017
Like Torres, though, he’s not relevant for fantasy.