After back-to-back huge seasons by second baseman Dee Gordon with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Miami Marlins, it had seemed like he was one of the many young stars in the game who forced fans to watch when he was at the plate. Gordon’s electric speed and hit tool left him receiving MVP votes at the end of both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Dee even won a Gold Glove at the end of the 2015 season, after making huge strides in the field at second base. As the son of Tom Gordon, it was fascinating to see another former baseball player’s son make a name for himself within the sport.
Heading into 2016, there was a lot of hype surrounding Gordon to see if he could continue this type of dominating performance. With new hitting coach Barry Bonds assisting the Marlins, many were curious if he could help Gordon top the 205 hits he collected in just 145 games the season before. But after a slow start for Gordon in 2016, some terrible news broke on April 29 that would cause his reputation to take a serious hit. The reigning National League batting champion had been suspended by Major League Baseball for 80 games without pay after testing positive for exogenous testosterone and Clostebol. Both are performance-enhancing substances that violate Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program.
Gordon’s suspension was a tough blow to a Marlins team that had been struggling at the time, but they didn’t falter thanks to the efforts of Derek Dietrich, who filled in for Gordon and helped the team get back on track. Even though Dee explained he didn’t know how these banned substances entered his body, he accepted his punishment and has worked hard to stay in shape. The two-time All-Star will get a chance to redeem himself with the Marlins beginning this Thursday, according to Jim Frisario of MLB.com.
The former top prospect has played seven games with Triple-A in order to get back into game shape. Gordon has gone 7 for 27, putting together a .259 batting average with two stolen bases and one triple. Prior to his suspension, Dee was batting just .266 in 21 games, so it will take a serious comeback from the Marlin if he hopes to end his season anywhere close to his career norms. It was just last offseason that Gordon signed a five-year, $50 million deal, so he’ll have to prove he’s still worth that extension after being branded a cheater. Also, with the Marlins currently tied for the second Wild Card spot, it’s important to remember Gordon will be ineligible to play in the postseason if they do end up reaching it.
The Miami Marlins organization seems to be welcoming back Dee with open arms after his mistake, but it won’t be that easy with the fans. The best thing for Gordon to do right now is reunite with his team and do everything in his power to make up for lost time. Gordon’s track record will ensure second base is still his when he returns to the major-league diamond, so he’ll be able to provide an immediate boost to this lineup. It won’t be easy, but everyone has to own up to their mistakes at some point. The main focus for Dee has to be about winning. Nothing makes a problem in sports disappear quicker than winning games.