COMMENTARY| Is the sky Dodger Blue? Yes, always.
If only the answer to the will-Los-Angeles-trade-Dee-Gordon question was as easy to answer.
Excluding September call-ups, there are 750 players on major league rosters at any given time. And if you believe the stories floating around now, the only conclusion to be drawn is that all 750 of them are on the precipice of being included in a deal to go somewhere, somehow, someway.
Because, clearly, all 30 clubs are "in on," "interested in," or "going hard after" every last one of them. Which brings to mind this great old piece from The Onion, "Yankees Ensure 2003 Pennant By Signing Every Player In Baseball."
Between the agents' agendas and those of the front offices, the rumor-mongering websites galore, and the fans' insatiable appetite for the Hot Stove (myself very much included), there are a hundred personnel-related pieces of fiction circulating for every one with a basis in fact. If that.
So are the Dodgers shopping Dee Gordon, or aren't they? Sure they are, kind of.
Look, Gordon is ions away from free agency, service time isn't an issue, and he has minor league options. Salary isn't a concern. He's got a good head on his shoulders, and the Dodgers can afford to be patient with their young shortstop. There is no need to do anything this offseason. Absolutely none.
But if the offers come rolling in, why not listen? Los Angeles probably isn't getting a prominent player for Gordon, but it might get a nice prospect or two, or a valuable complementary piece.
God knows about the Seattle Mariners' "hitting the Dodgers hard on Dee Gordon," but L.A. could certainly use Franklin Gutiérrez as a fourth outfielder (as I detailed here). Left-hand hitting catcher John Jaso would complement A.J. Ellis well, although I don't know if he's a straight-up trade match for Gordon, necessarily.
The Mariners would be crazy to trade a solid third baseman for a shaky shortstop, so Kyle Seager is probably out, but they might part with second baseman Dustin Ackley, and the Dodgers could use him, perhaps not in the lineup but certainly in the organization. Mark Ellis has a year to go in L.A., and he spent a good chunk of 2012 on the disabled list. Ackley would be a good insurance policy for 2013, with a more prominent role going forward.
A trade that works for both teams can be done with pitchers and prospects switching sides in a multi-player swap, and the more I think about it, the more I like it. But again, there might be nothing to the Seattle rumor. Or the Cleveland rumor. And the Oakland rumor is really just a suggestion.
The Dodgers are right to have mixed feelings when it comes to Gordon. He played well late in 2011 but couldn't match the potential as the 2012 regular, making the spectacular play look easy and the routine anything but. His 18 errors in 79 games last season stand out as a problem, and the struggles with the bat (.228, 280, 281) didn't help any. Still, Gordon is a talented young man with a future.
Not to hurl clichés or anything, but sometimes the best trades are the ones that aren't consummated. It's a simple concept that the Dodgers understand well, and they're not dumping Dee Gordon as if he were Juan Uribe or something. If a good deal comes along, they'll no doubt jump. If not, they won't.
So yes, they're shopping Gordon. Kind of.
Howard Cole is the Director of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America (IBWAA) and has been blogging about the Dodgers since 2000, at Baseball Savvy , The Orange County Register and Cole On LA . Follow him on Twitter @Howard_Cole.
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