MIAMI — Miami second baseman Dee Gordon has been traded to the Seattle Mariners for three prospects on Thursday in a deal that marks the start of the Marlins’ latest payroll purge, this time under new CEO Derek Jeter.
The Marlins want to cut their payroll by more than 20 percent to $90 million or less, which is why NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton also is on the trading block.
Seattle has eight-time All-Star Robinson Cano at second base and is expected to move Gordon to center field. While Gordon has never played center in the majors, the Mariners believe he can make the transition and fill perhaps the biggest remaining need among their position players.
Miami acquired right-hander Nick Neidert, the Mariners’ No. 2 prospect, along with infielder Chris Torres and right-hander Robert Dugger. Seattle gets an international signing bonus pool allotment, boosting the amount it can offer Japanese star pitcher and outfielder Shohei Ohtani.
Gordon is guaranteed $38 million over the remainder of his contract, which calls for salaries of $10.5 million, $13 million and $13.5 million in the next three seasons. The deal includes a $14 million team option in 2021 with a $1 million buyout, a salary that would become guaranteed if he has 600 plate appearances in 2020 or 1,200 in 2019-20 combined, and he finishes 2020 on the active major league roster.
He batted .308 in 158 games in 2016, and had 60 stolen bases to lead the major leagues for the third time in the past four years.
Gordon won the NL batting title in 2015 when he hit .333, and also won a Gold Glove that year. He made the All-Star team in 2014 and 2015.
The trade increases the likelihood the Marlins and Jeter will keep outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna. They have reached the parameters of a potential deal to trade Stanton to the San Francisco Giants.
The St. Louis Cardinals have also sought the right fielder, with each team offering a package of prospects. The major league home run champion can veto any deal because his record $325 million, 13-year contract includes a no-trade clause.