Towards the end of the Winter Meetings, there was a trade rumor floated about where the Royals would part with Justin Maxwell for Dee Gordon. With the Royals having an excess of outfielders, it would make sense to part ways with one or two of them. And the Royals could, theoretically, use a backup middle infielder.
The problem is that, aside from blazing speed, Gordon does not really provide much value. In his career, Gordon has produced a .256/.301/.312 batting line, but those numbers are dramatically skewed by his solid rookie year. In the last two seasons, Gordon has only produced at a .229/.289/.285 rate. That inability to hit or get on base completely mitigates Gordon’s speed. While he has had success stealing bases, that does not matter if he cannot get on base.
Dee Gordon also does not fit the profile as a backup middle infielder. Before being sent down to the minors due to his lack of performance, Gordon had never played at any position aside from shortstop. For the Albuquerque Isotopes, Gordon played 20 games at second, but has played all of 3.2 innings at second in the majors. If Gordon was a good defensive shortstop, it would make sense to think that he could eventually develop into a solid backup middle infielder. However, Gordon has been mediocre at best at short. In 87 games in 2012, he made 18 errors at short, which was the second most in the National League.
What Gordon is, essentially, is Elloit Johnson with speed. Yet, Johnson may have been more valuable than Gordon, since he been solid defensively and can play multiple positions. Since the Royals already had Johnson and parted ways with him, why would they look at someone worse?
If the Royals are truly looking for a backup middle infielder, they may already have that player. Emilio Bonifacio appears to be at his best as a super utility player, and Christian Colon has played both second and short in the minors. Gordon just does not seem to be an upgrade at the position.
Could Dee Gordon eventually develop into the player he was though to be when he was considered one of the top prospects in baseball? He very well could, and at age 26, still has plenty of time. However, aside from the 56 games that he played in as a rookie in 2011, Gordon has yet to show any sign that he is a viable major league player. If the Royals truly feel that they need a backup middle infielder, they could do much better than Dee Gordon.