Not only did the Mariners acquire an All-Star and a batting champ Thursday, they collected $1 million that they can apply toward signing Japanese star Shohei Ohtani.
The Mariners Thursday acquired All-Star 2B Dee Gordon, 29, and international slot money from the Miami Marlins in exchange for RHPs Robert Dugger and Nick Neidert and INF Christopher Torres. Instead of replacing Robinson Cano at second base, the Mariners will put Gordon into center field, a position he has never played at the major league level.
Equally significant is the slot money. In this deal, the Mariners picked up $1 million, which helps sweeten their offer to pitcher/hitter Shohei Ohtani, the Japanese superstar who will choose among seven MLB teams, including Seattle, perhaps by next week, but no later than a Dec. 22 deadline.
That extra million gives Seattle $3.55 million in its pool, moving the Mariners ahead of the Texas Rangers, who have $3.53 million to direct to Ohtani, 23. Seattle’s has the most money to offer Ohtani, who wants to hit and pitch in the majors on a regular basis.
This is the second time in two days that Dipoto has traded a top prospect for international slot money to entice Ohtani. On Wednesday, he dealt catching prospect David Banuelos to the Minnesota Twins for $1 million.
Regardless of which team Ohtani selects, the Mariners will have in Gordon a new hitter playing somewhere and hitting leadoff.
“Dee provides us with a dynamic presence at the top of our lineup,” said Seattle GM Jerry Dipoto. “He’s a two-time All-Star and former National League batting champion who is electric on the basepaths, having already won three stolen base titles. His athleticism will be an asset both in our lineup and in the middle of our outfield for several seasons to come.”
Gordon last season hit .308 with 114 runs, 20 doubles, nine triples, two home runs, 33 RBIs, 60 stolen bases and a .341 on-base percentage in 158 games. The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder led the National League in steals while also ranking T2 in hits, T3 in triples, fourth in runs and ninth in games played.
Since 2014, Gordon leads all players in triples with 35 while ranking second in stolen bases with 212. During that span, he is one of two players with at least 200 stolen bases, joining Billy Hamilton (230). Over the past four seasons, he ranks 12th in the majors in hits with 669. He is the only active player to bat at least .300 while stealing at least 50 bases in multiple seasons (2015 and 2017).
A native of Windermere, FL, Gordon earned his first of two trips to the All-Star Game in 2014 with the Dodgers. He finished the 2014 season with a league-leading 64 stolen bases and 12 triples. He was subsequently acquired by Miami along with RHP Dan Haren and INF Miguel Rojas from the Dodgers in exchange for C Austin Barnes, RHP Chris Hatcher, LHP Andrew Heaney and OF Enrique Hernandez.
Gordon posted a career year in 2015, claiming the NL batting title with a .333 mark while also earning a Gold Glove at second base and a National League Silver Slugger. He also led the NL in hits and steals (58) in 2015 with Miami, finishing 16th in NL MVP voting. In 2015, he hit .333 with 88 runs, 24 doubles, eight triples, four home runs, 46 RBIs, 58 steals and a .359 on-base percentage in 145 games.
In parts of seven seasons with the Dodgers (2011-14) and Miami (2015-17), he is a career .293 hitter. The Dodgers selected Gordon in the fourth round of the 2008 draft out of Seminole Community College (Sanford, FL). He is is the son of former pitcher Tom Gordon, who appeared in parts of 21 MLB seasons.
Dugger, 22, split the 2017 season between A Clinton and advanced-A Modesto, combining for a record of 6-6 with two saves and a 2.75 ERA with 116 strikeouts and 32 walks in 31 appearances, including 18 starts. In parts of two minor league seasons in the Mariners organization, Dugger has compiled a record of 8-7 with four saves and a 3.22 ERA.
Neidert, 21, the club’s top pitching prospect, split 2017 between A Modesto and AA Arkansas, going 11-6 with a 3.45 ERA in 25 starts. Neidert was selected by Seattle in the second round of the 2015 draft out of Peach Ridge (GA.) High School.
Torres, 19, hit .238 with 13 stolen bases in 48 games with Short-A Everett in 2017. Among Northwest League leaders he ranked T2 in triples and T7 in runs scored. The Mariners signed Torres as a non-drafted international free agent Aug. 21, 2014.
Mariners off-season transactions
Oct. 31: Outrighted RHP Casey Lawrence to AAA Tacoma.
Nov. 2: Claimed INF/OF Andrew Romine off waivers from Detroit; reinstated RHP David Phelps and LHP Drew Smyly from the 60-day disabled list; announced that 1B Yonder Alonso, OF Jarrod Dyson, INF Gordon Beckham, C Carlos Ruiz and 1B Danny Valencia had become free agents; declined 2018 options on RHPs Hisashi Iwakuma and Yovani Gallardo.
Nov. 3: Claimed INF Zach Vincej off waivers.
Nov. 7: Outrighted Vincej to Tacoma.
Nov. 14: Hired Jim Brower as an assistant coach.
Nov. 15: Acquired INF Ryon Healy from Oakland in exchange for RHP Emilio Pagan and and INF Alexander Campos.
Nov. 27: Signed RHP Hisashi Iwakuma to a minor league contract and invited him to spring training.
Nov. 30: Claimed LHP Sam Moll off waivers from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Dec. 4: Hired Brian Delunas as bullpen coach.
Dec. 6: Traded catching prospect David Banuelos to the Twins in exchange for $1 million in international bonus money. Banuelos had been ranked 10th among Seattle’s major league prospects by MLB.com.
Dec. 7: Acquired two-time All-Star Dee Gordon and $1 million in international slot money from Miami in exchange for RHP Robert Dugger, RHP Nick Neidert and INF Christopher Torres.