A Spring Training of uncertainty at second base has ended with Dee Gordon seemingly taking the spot and the Los Angeles Dodgers left with many questions, including if he’ll be able to hit enough to stay in the lineup.
Last season, the Dodgers had veteran Mark Ellis at second and many thought he would return, even after the signing of Cuban infielder Alex Guerrero. according to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com, the Dodgers lost their chance at the second baseman because of an error on their part:
Ellis, after speaking with Walter, was under the impression that the Dodgers wanted him long term. After the season ended, the team indicated that it might make him a two-year offer. Right up until the moment that Ellis signed with the Cardinals, a one-year deal was still within reach.
In the end, Ellis grew weary of the Dodgers’ indecisiveness. His role with the Cardinals is not clearer than it would have been with the Dodgers; the Cardinals also are grooming a younger second baseman, Kolten Wong.
Not to mention, Ellis was reassured the Dodgers knew his value after chairman Mark Walter voted against trading the veteran infielder to the Kansas City Royals for reliever Luke Hochevar. The Dodgers would’ve flipped Ellis after acquiring second baseman Howie Kendrick from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for pitching prospect Zach Lee.
Once Ellis left, the Dodgers were without all four of their veteran infielders from 2013 with Jerry Hairston, Jr. retiring, Skip Schumaker joining the Cincinnati Reds and Nick Punto heading with the Oakland Athletics. Voids were left in the field and in the clubhouse, giving the Dodgers little time and options to fill in. The team could have used Ellis to hold down the spot at second base until Guerrero was ready to take over. Now they’ll head into the season with Gordon at the position, with the memories of his .229 batting average the past two seasons fresh in mind.
Behind Gordon, the Dodgers have 36-year-old Chone Figgins, who was out of baseball last season, and former Met Justin Turner. Don Mattingly will have to mix and match this season at the position, until a player emerges from the group to take over and give the Dodgers some stability.
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