The Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t need to wait long to face Matt Kemp after trading the outfielder to San Diego as they began a three-game set with the Padres on Opening Day. Kemp was greeted warmly in pregame introductions and received a standing ovation prior to his first at-bat.
Kemp admitted to caring about the reception he’d get from the crowd he called home for nine seasons. Dee Gordon, in his first season with the Miami Marlins, isn’t as concerned with the reception he may receive.
“I’m just going to go out there and continue to play hard and whatever happens, happens,” Gordon said. “If they give me a good ovation, I very much would appreciate that.” Gordon spent parts of four seasons with the Dodgers and broke through in 2014 to earn All-Star honors at second base.
The Florida native not only solidified second base for the Dodgers, he cemented himself as a viable threat at the top of the lineup. Gordon led the Majors with 64 stolen bases and 12 triples but faded as the season wore on.
The decline in production presumably played a significant role in the Dodgers’ decision to sell high on the second baseman in what was president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman’s first notable move.
While the trade forced Gordon to don a new jersey for the first time in his professional career, you won’t find any resentment coming from the 27 year old. “No sir, not at all,” Gordon said when asked if he wanted to prove the Dodgers wrong for trading him.
“Like I said, I’m very thankful for the opportunity they [Dodgers] gave me and I’m just going to continue to go out here and play hard for the Marlins.” A prevailing theme from Gordon was how thankful he is to have played for the Dodgers and his focus on now helping the Marlins, who are in third place in the NL East.
Playing second base and batting leadoff for his new team, Gordon figures to present plenty of challenges for the Dodgers. “I don’t really like the thought of Dee Gordon on base,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said.
“So, let’s hope we can keep him off base. Once he gets on base we know he creates a lot of havoc. It will be good to see Dee and we’ll just try to keep him off base.” Gordon leads the Majors in batting average and has a slash of .439/.462/.537 with an MLB-best 54 hits.
Gordon’s 12 stolen bases are second only to Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton (16), though Gordon has also been caught stealing six times — the most in baseball.