It was reported this week that the new ownership group of the Miami Marlins, led by Derek Jeter, wants to slash team payroll down to $90 million — a sharp decrease from the team’s $115 million mark this year.
This significant decrease means that the Marlins are probably going to be saying goodbye to some of their stars. Giancarlo Stanton, fresh off of a 59-homer season, could be a fire sale casualty thanks to his whopping $325 million contract. Other players like Christian Yelich and Marcel Ozuna could also get moved, as they are star-caliber players that are capable of netting several prospects on the open market.
As far as Mets interests go, the one player the team should keep its eyes on is Dee Gordon. In the event of a firesale, trading for Gordon would give the Mets their second baseman for the forseeable future at a very reasonable price. He makes more sense for the Mets than any other available player does — including Asdrubal Cabrera.
Gordon, a two-time All-Star, has batted .309/.340/.384 since coming to the Marlins in 2015, and recorded 200 hits twice in the last three seasons. He has led the NL in steals three times in the last four years, and plays slightly above-average defense. A player of this pedigree would add a lot to the Mets’ lineup — especially in areas where they have been lacking.
Gordon would provide the Mets with a way to produce runs that is not entirely contingent on the home run ball. 47.6 percent of all of the Mets’ runs this season came via home runs — a relatively high number. Gordon had a wRC mark of 80 last year, giving him more created runs than Asdrubal Cabrera, so Gordon would give the Mets someone who can create runs exceptionally without having to homer.
Speed is an aspect of the Mets offense that has been overlooked since Sandy Alderson took over as GM, and adding Dee Gordon to the mix would change this immediately. The Mets had just 58 steals last year — the fewest in the NL. Gordon had 60 by himself.
Having someone capable of advancing on the basepaths like Gordon would provide the Mets with more scoring opportunities than simply relying on the home run ball. There is no other area on this team where Gordon’s presence would be felt more than in the speed department — and this is somewhere where the Mets could really use a boost.
Defensively, Gordon would represent a major improvement over Asdrubal Cabrera. Gordon isn’t exactly a star defender in his own right; he saved just three defensive runs over 1,293.1 last season — but that makes him look like Ozzie Smith compared to Cabrera.
Cabrera cost the Mets six defensive runs in just 274.1 innings last season, good enough for fifth-worst in the NL — despite having played far less time there than most players on that list. If Cabrera had played second base for the entire season, there’s little doubt he’d be the worst on that list.
Another aspect — and this is one that ownership will love — that makes Gordon a solid fit for the Mets is his affordability. Gordon is owed just $37 million over the next three seasons — not including a $14 million option for 2021. This is not much to ask for a guy of Gordon’s pedigree. Locking in an All-Star at this price for the next four years would give the team a “core” player that would be with them for the long haul, and someone capable of providing some coveted “payroll flexibility.”
So in Gordon, the Mets would be getting an affordable run-producer with elite speed, and whose game is not entirely dependent on the home run ball. If there’s another Marlins fire sale, Gordon should be at the top of the Mets’ list. He might be worth losing a couple of prospects for — especially if the Mets want to keep payroll low.