Dee Gordon’s accomplishments during his first season with the Miami Marlins put his name in the same mention as sports greats such as Jackie Robinson.
Gordon wanted to make sure he would have his family nearby to witness future milestones.
On Monday afternoon, with 13 of his closest family members present — including his father, former major-league pitcher Tom “Flash” Gordon — Dee signed his previously reported five-year, $50 million contract extension to remain the Marlins’ second baseman. Gordon’s deal would keep him in Miami through the 2020 season, and has an option for a sixth year worth $14 million.
“Once I got traded here from Los Angeles, I loved the way they treated me here,” Gordon said. “Signing this extension was a no-brainer. I love being here and it gives me a chance to see my grandmother and my dad and my uncle all the time.”
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Gordon, 27, was entering his first year of salary arbitration after coming off a season in which he won the National League batting title (.333 batting average), his first Gold Glove and led the majors in hits (205) and stolen bases (58).
Gordon became the first National League player to win a batting title and lead the league in stolen bases since Jackie Robinson with the Dodgers in 1949. Gordon was voted in as a starter to last year’s All-Star Game but couldn’t play due to a thumb injury that forced him to miss 17 games.
“I need to continue to stay consistent and win ballgames,” Gordon said. “Last season was a pretty amazing accomplishment, but I have to focus and keep working hard.”
Having his family at the news conference meant the world to Gordon, who was born in Windermere, Florida, and took up baseball in the 11th grade at Avon Park High at the behest of his father after playing basketball for most of his youth.
“He hasn’t honed in on all of his skill set yet,” Tom Gordon said.
Gordon said he was thrilled for his son’s opportunity to sign a long-term deal — something he never did as a player despite a lengthy pro career.
Gordon, a closer, played for eight major-league clubs over a 21-year career in which he once led the American League in saves and recorded a then-record 54 consecutive saves while pitching for the Red Sox.
“The longest contracts I ever signed as a player were for two- or three-year deals,” Tom Gordon said. “This [Dee’s extension] doesn’t happen every day.”
With Gordon’s signing, the Marlins now have another key position in their lineup seemingly secured for the foreseeable future.
Gordon joins Giancarlo Stanton and Christian Yelich among key Marlins players signed to long-term deals.
The Marlins are also set to announce the signing of lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen, who agreed to a five-year, $80 million deal last Tuesday. They’ve also added right-hander Edwin Jackson, backup infielder Chris Johnson and avoided arbitration for Jose Fernandez and Adeiny Hechavarria by signing each to one-year deals.
“Our offseason isn’t over, but we are happy with the moves we’ve been able to make,” Marlins president of baseball operations Mike Hill said. “If opportunities to improve the ball club present themselves, of course we’re open to them.”
MARLINS REPORTER DIES
Juan C. Rodriguez, the Miami Marlins beat writer for the Sun Sentinel and a former Miami Herald sportswriter, passed away Monday after a three-year long battle with brain cancer.
He was 42.
Rodriguez, a graduate of the University of Minnesota, grew up in New York City and McAllen, Texas, before moving to Miami in 1985. He worked for The Herald and Florida Today in Melbourne before joining the Sun Sentinel in July 2002.
Rodriguez was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor shortly after collapsing while covering the MLB Winter Meetings in Nashville in December 2012. Over the next few months, Rodriguez underwent chemotherapy and eventually a number of surgeries.
“I’d be remiss if we didn’t mention today that we’re here with heavy hearts as we remember Juan Rodriguez,” Marlins president David Samson said Monday during the Gordon news conference. “He was a great man. I just wanted to say that I hope Juan is in a better place now and our thoughts are with his wife Tiffany and his family.”
Rodriguez is survived by his wife Tiffany and their two young children Laura and Ryan. A fundraiser was set up to help Rodriguez’s family cover medical expenses during Rodriguez’s fight with cancer. To contribute, visit: https://www.youcaring.com/juan-rodriguez-and-family-429305#.Vp1Pwsgv-2Q.twitter