Miami Marlins second baseman must put 2016 behind him, concentrate on a better 2017

Dee Gordon needs to be a leader on base pads this season if Miami is going to challenge for the playoffs in 2017

The Miami Marlins have made news this offseason by bringing a host of pitchers to try and rectify the issues with both the rotation and the bullpen. The additions have become the main attraction of a free agency period that did not secure a big name starter or the mega-closer they had sought. Now, to rebuild and reload, management will try to fit all the puzzle pieces together.

The Marlins have plenty of talent in the lineup. The trio of outfielders – Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna and Christian Yelich rival any in the bigs.

The infield was hardly touched in the offseason. Players were retained to keep the core in place for the future. Some bats, namely Chris Johnson, wasn’t brought back. Now, with what appears to be four bats coming off the bench, the need for the starters to perform has become paramount.

Fans had a chance ask MLB’s Joe Frisaro in his weekly “Inbox” about such a topic – mainly Dee Gordon who spent half the season on suspension and will be counted on to return to an All-Star level that will benefit the hitter and the ball club.

“Last year, Gordon didn't seem himself early in the season, and of course, he served an 80-game suspension beginning at the end of April. When he returned, it took a while for him to hit his stride, and he finished with a .268 batting average and a .305 on-base percentage. He still paced the team, by a wide margin, with 30 stolen bases.

“If Gordon can bat close to .300 and play strong defense, I think he has the chance to be highly impactful. The Marlins certainly will need him to make things happen at the top of the order. If he does, the entire offense should improve.”

Miami changed its approach to hitting when Gordon was suspended for PEDs in the opening of the season. The team lost a key table setter and speed on the base pads. Derek Dietrich played a solid role in his absence, but it did not match Gordon’s productivity a year removed. Miami has to put more hitters on base at the top of the order to give the middle of the lineup – most notably its outfield – a chance to move them around.

“Gordon had a career year in 2015, winning the National League batting title with a .333 average. I'm not necessarily expecting a duplication of that season, but I do believe Gordon will bounce back and have a big year. We all know he isn't going to draw many walks or produce much power. That's understood. But I feel Gordon will be highly motivated in '17.”

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