Derek Dietrich doesn’t pretend to be Dee Gordon.
He doesn’t run like Gordon. He doesn’t field like Gordon. He doesn’t bunt like Gordon.
But in the 10 games the Marlins have been without Gordon, who was suspended 80 games for performance enhancing drugs, Dietrich and others have filled in capably.
“Collectively, we’ve done a pretty good job,” said Dietrich, who went 3 for 5 with a triple and RBI in Monday’s win over Milwaukee.
Dietrich has handled most of the chores at second base while he, J.T. Realmuto and Ichiro Suzuki have taken turns in the leadoff spot at the top of the order.
Since Gordon’s departure, the Marlins’ leadoff hitters rank second in the National League and fifth in the majors with a .326 average. As a group, they have a .356 on-base percentage. And neither Dietrich nor Miguel Rojas, who have been starting at second base, have yet to be charged with an error.
“It’s been a fairly smooth transition to this point,” said manager Don Mattingly. “[Dietrich’s] been great. I think we knew we had a different dynamic with Derek. He hits with more power. He sees pitches, and he’s been solid in the field.”
But Mattingly cautioned that it’s too early to draw conclusions. Mattingly likened the Gordon situation to losing a player to a long-term injury.
“With injuries, you usually can sustain for periods of time,” Mattingly said. “But, usually, if you have to do it for a long period of time, it’s a lot harder to do. We’ll kind of see where that goes.”
While Mattingly praised Dietrich’s performance so far, not having Gordon has its drawbacks.
“I think you miss him from the stand point of just stability,” Mattingly said. “[You] write his name in the lineup pretty much everyday.”
Mattingly said it also influences the way he fills out the lineup card.
“You can’t really load up left-handed against the righties,” said Mattingly, who could start Dietrich at third base for Martin Prado when he wished to do that.
Otherwise, there’s been no significant drop-off in production to this point.
“Whether you’re hitting leadoff or playing second base, I’m just trying to treat it the same as I always did,” Dietrich said. “You can’t change the player you are to fit the needs of the team. You are the player you are.”
Will Jose stay?
Jose Fernandez has given no indication that he would like to remain a Marlin long-term. He remains under team control through 2018, after which he can become a free agent.
But if Stephen Strasburg can do it, why not Fernandez?
Strasburg, who could have become a free agent after the season, instead worked out a contract extension with the Nationals that will guarantee him $175 million over seven years. Strasburg can opt out after the third and fourth years if he wishes.
Like Strasburg, Fernandez is a client of agent Scott Boras, who prefers his players test the rich waters of free agency. But Strasburg expressed a desire to stay in Washington, precipitating the deal.
“For me, the big thing was the flexibility of the contract,” Boras said of Strasburg’s extension. “Stephen has a lot of security and the opportunity to stay or leave. It works out well for both parties.”
The Marlins made an extension offer to Fernandez last year when he was returning from Tommy John surgery. But that offer was rejected.
“That’s not something I’m going to talk about now,” Fernandez said Tuesday. “There are so many things that go into that stuff. And, right now, I’m far away from talking about that. I’ve got one job, and that’s pitching.”
▪ The Marlins placed reliever Nefi Ogando on the 15-day disabled list with a broken rib and called up reliever Nick Wittgren from Triple A New Orleans.
▪ Reliever Mike Dunn (left forearm strain) threw in the bullpen Tuesday. Dunn said he hopes to join the Marlins bullpen in either late May or early June.
▪ Wednesday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-1, 4.66) vs. Milwaukee Brewers RHP Chase Anderson (1-4, 6.44), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Thursday: Off day