Dee Gordon rated his defensive wizardry at the start of spring training as “terrible” and “weird-looking, like an idiot.” By season’s end, he was a magician with the glove.
The infielder for the Marlins was honored Tuesday with his first Gold Glove as the National League’s top defensive second baseman.
“He always painted the picture that he was terrible,” said Marlins infield coach Perry Hill. “Not so. He’s too modest. He was - and always has been -- good.”
Gordon, acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers last December, proved himself an outstanding all-around player. In addition to his capturing the Gold Glove, Gordon won the league’s batting and stolen base titles.
Gordon became the seventh different Marlin to win a Gold Glove. The only other second baseman for the Marlins to win one was Luis Castillo, who reeled off three straight from 2003-05.
Shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria and left fielder Christian Yelich were finalists for Gold Gloves this season, but did not win.
Gordon became only the second player in major-league history to lead the league in batting average, stolen bases, hits and win a Gold Glove in the same season. His teammate, Ichiro Suzuki, was the other, accomplishing the rare feat in 2001 with the Seattle Mariners.
▪ The 2015 standings would suggest otherwise, but president of baseball operations Michael Hill doesn’t find it far-fetched that the Marlins could catch up to division frontrunners the Mets and Nationals next season.
“I think we need to get better, but I think the potential is definitely there,” Hill said. “We just need to play better. We played against both of those clubs, and played them very well.”
The Marlins went 8-11 against the National League champion Mets and 9-10 against the second-place Nationals.
But they finished a distant third in the National League East, 19 games behind the Mets and 12 in back of the Nationals. Still, Hill said the disparity isn’t that significant.
“I wouldn’t say it’s great at all,” Hill said.
▪ Hill said the Marlins have reached out to free agent catcher Jeff Mathis about a possible return as backup to J.T. Realmuto. Mathis struggled badly at the plate, hitting just .161.
But the Marlins like his leadership presence inside the clubhouse, as well as his catching and throwing skills.
Tomas Telis will also be considered as a backup option behind the plate.
Telis, along with infielder Miguel Rojas, are playing winter baseball, both in Venezuela.
▪ It’s no secret that the Marlins hope to upgrade their rotation with the addition of at least one, and possibly two, starting pitchers. But don’t expect any deals to happen quickly.
The Marlins will likely have to wait for the high-end pitching market to shake out before targeting more affordable arms. In other words, the likes of Zack Greinke, David Price, Johnny Cueto and Jordan Zimmermann will likely have to sign first before the Marlins and other teams can take aim on the leftovers.
“I think the entire market will take some time to define itself,” Hill said. “That’s generally how it has to go.”
That doesn’t mean the Marlins will sit on their hands and wait.
They could acquire a starting pitcher through a trade, perhaps one involving outfielder Marcell Ozuna.