Jim Bowden of The Athletic chatted with Mariners GM Jerry Dipoto about the decision to trade for Dee Gordon and place him in center field despite a lack of experience at the position (subscription required). Unsurprisingly, Dipoto revealed that the outside-the-box trade was rather data-driven in nature. “We had a need in CF and believed his profile fit perfectly if he was willing to commit to the transition,” said Dipoto. “We then took a look at some of the available data (Statcast) and our analysts created a projection of what his acceleration and wide open speed might look like in center field based on comparable speed athletes in the database. The results were encouraging enough that we decided to go for it.” Dipoto raved about the manner in which Gordon has embraced the move, praising his commitment to learning the craft and “tireless” work ethic. Gordon has already impressed Seattle with his range in center, though Dipoto notes that he still has work to do when it comes to scooping ground-balls in the outfield and coming up in a crow hop after years of infield work.
Elsewhere in the American League…
- The Orioles could be looking at an extended absence for pitching prospect Chris Lee, who pitched to one batter on Tuesday before exiting with an injury. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters after the game that Lee suffered a right oblique strain and is set for an MRI on Wednesday morning (link via MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko). Oblique strains often sideline players for a month or more, depending on the severity, and Showalter didn’t sound optimistic of a quick return. “There’s a pretty good pattern of the days it takes,” said the manager. “That’s one injury that pretty much runs its course. It isn’t earlier and it isn’t later.” Kubatko also notes that right fielder Austin Hays, who has been bothered by some lat soreness and was switched from right field to DH shortly before today’s game, will have an MRI on Wednesday as well. Lee wasn’t considered likely to make the Opening Day rotation, though Hays certainly projects as a possible impact piece for the O’s early in the 2018 season.
- An issue with Seung-hwan Oh’s physical in Texas didn’t cause the Rangers to pull their offer entirely, writes Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling, but the Rangers did change their offer to Oh after his examination. That prompted Oh to further explore the market, at which point he latched on with the Blue Jays on a one-year, $2MM deal with an option for the 2019 season. GM Ross Atkins didn’t express any concern over Oh’s medical status, per Zwelling. “We feel really good about our process and about the information that we had prior to Texas and after Texas coming out,” said Atkins. “Our due diligence suggests that with his emphasis on strength and conditioning, his emphasis on how he takes care of himself, that he should be able to help us.”