Tha Sports Junkies 101

Sleeping With the Fishes: Why Dee Gordon’s Return Makes Miami Deadly

Arturo Pardavila III/ Via


Dee Gordon’s reinstatement can put Miami into the discussion for the National League Pennant.

Every now and then in Major League Baseball, a team that is not expected to compete has everything go right throughout the season.  Last year, it was the New York Mets.  In 2014, the Kansas City Royals made a Cinderella run to the Fall Classic.  Right now, the Miami Marlins are the team that has exceeded all expectations.  Marcell Ozuna is finally showing the tools that so many scouts had raved about for years.  Christian Yelich is having a breakout season, batting .316 with an OPS of .877 that ranks in the top 20 among National League qualifiers.  Second-year catcher J.T. Realmuto is hitting .312 over 86 games while throwing out over 40 percent of attempted base-stealers.  Jose Fernandez is back to form and he leads all NL starters in K/9.  Closer A.J. Ramos has blown just one save in 32 opportunities.  After weeks of anticipated action on the trade market, the Marlins acquired starters Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from San Diego to improve their rotation led by Fernandez.

It may seem like Miami has caught every break this season, but the Marlins have had two massive holes in their formidable lineup for an extended period.  When opposing teams look over the scouting report for the Marlins,  you would think the consensus would be to make sure someone other than Giancarlo Stanton beats them.  In 2016 though, Stanton has been a non-factor for a majority of the season.  Stanton was batting .200 on June 17th, with just a .420 slugging percentage.  Stanton’s lowest point in not just this season but for his career occurred in a five game stretch between May 16th through May 21st.  Over those five games, Stanton went 0-17 with 15 strikeouts.  That slump was the worst by a position player in over 50 years.  Stanton has turned it on in July, however, and he put on a great showing in the Home Run Derby.  If Stanton can stay hot down the stretch, Miami should be looking at a playoff berth.

But if Dee Gordon returns to his old form, watch out.

One season after he finally became a productive offensive player as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Gordon really turned it on once he arrived in South Beach.  The speedy second baseman led the National League in hits en route to becoming the first Marlin to win a batting title since Hanley Ramirez in 2009.  Gordon also caused plenty of havoc on the base paths by swiping 58 stolen bases.  Gordon posted career bests in nearly every offensive category.  He was primed to lead the Marlins into the new campaign with hopes of reaching the playoffs.

Maybe by coincidence or perhaps by fate, Major League Baseball announced that Dee Gordon had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs and would be suspended for 80 games after the Miami Marlins defeated Gordon’s old Dodgers club on April 28th.  At that point in the season, many baseball pundits across the country probably figured that the Marlins playoff hopes were dashed after the loss of Gordon.  But that is not the case.  Going into Friday’s slate of games, Miami currently sits just five games behind the Washington Nationals in the N.L. East, and they are tied with the St. Louis Cardinals for the second wild-card spot.  Although the aforementioned Ozuna, Yelich and Realmuto have picked up the slack on offense, the Marlins still have room to improve.  They rank 23rd in baseball in stolen bases with 33.  6 of those 33 steals belong to Gordon, who has only played in 22 games this season.  Last year, Miami ranked 4th in stolen bases in Gordon’s first season as a Marlin.

Many people overlook the Marlins for all the wrong reasons.  Some think the uniforms are repulsive.  There are those who find the monstrous statue in center field to be less than elegant, like this guy:

Truthfully though, the Marlins are a good team.  They are built like the Chicago Cubs were last season.  Jose Fernandez is an over-powering ace like Jake Arrieta.  Giancarlo Stanton and Kyle Schwarber have power of mythical proportions.  The Cubs lacked a true threat on the bases however.  Dee Gordon can change a game with his gazelle-like speed.  If Gordon can hit anything like last year, the Miami Marlins will be more than just a good team.  Led by their lethal jack of all trades offense and Jose Fernandez, they will be a serious threat to reach the World Series.