The Mariners will give Dee Gordon some time at his natural position of second base in the wake of Robinson Cano’s shocking 80-game suspension, GM Jerry Dipoto told Seattle reporters today (Twitter links via Corey Brock of The Athletic). The organization has already approached Gordon about the possibility, and Brock notes that Gordon is “all in” and will play wherever the team asks of him. The transition won’t happen right away, however, as Gordon hasn’t been taking ground-balls since being acquired by the Mariners. They’ll instead give him some time to readjust to the position and take part in fielding drills outside of a game setting.
It’s not yet certain that Gordon will simply take over as the club’s everyday second baseman, though that possibility certainly exists. Rather, Gordon’s flexibility and willingness to move back to the infield on a full-time basis, if needed, will allow Dipoto and his staff the luxury of exploring the addition of both infielders and outfielders as they look to bolster the roster in Cano’s absence. Asked by TJ Cotterill of the Tacoma News Tribune if the Mariners could reallocate some of the funds they’ll save on Cano’s suspension to a roster upgrade, Dipoto responded in the affirmative (Twitter link). By my calculation, Cano’s suspension will cost him about $10.26MM of his $24MM salary for the 2018 campaign.
The ever-active Dipoto is never one to shy away from a trade, so it’s not especially surprising that Dipoto plans to search outside the organization for potential acquisitions in both the infield and the outfield (Twitter link via Greg Johns of MLB.com). The Mariners are currently sitting 1.5 games out of the division lead in the AL West and an identical 1.5 games back from a Wild Card berth thanks to a strong 23-17 start to the season. Clearly, they’re at something of a disadvantage on the trade market given their thin farm system and the lack of teams selling off high-quality MLB assets this time of season, though the fact that they can apply some unexpected financial resources toward a potential trade could work to their advantage.
Regarding Cano, it’s also worth noting that Mark Feinsand of MLB.com reports that the infielder will indeed undergo surgery to repair his fractured hand tomorrow (Twitter links). Of course, given his suspension, the fact that he’s undergoing surgery won’t prolong his absence from the roster. He’ll serve his suspension while on the disabled list, though he won’t be paid for any of the time he misses, of course, and remains ineligible for postseason play should the Mariners qualify.
[Related: Seattle Mariners depth chart]
For the time being, when Gordon does eventually move back onto the infield dirt, the Mariners can push Guillermo Heredia into an outfield role alongside both Mitch Haniger and Ben Gamel. Utilitymen Taylor Motter (currently in Triple-A) and Andrew Romine (on the 25-man roster) can both see time in both the middle infield and the outfield corners, giving manager Scott Servais some options to mix and match while the front office scours the trade market.