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Can the Mariners afford to lose Dee Gordon’s range at 2B when Robinson Canó returns?

Jon Morosi calls Mariners' Dee Gordon "a heart-and-soul player in the middle of the diamond." (AP)

With the regularity of one-run wins the Mariners have this season, there isn’t a lot of room for error. That’s as true with defense as it is with league-leading closer Edwin Díaz.

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The importance of defense for the Mariners is why MLB.com and FOX Sports analyst Jon Morosi told Brock and Salk (interview here) that he is particularly interested in what the Mariners are going to do when second baseman Robinson Canó returns next month from his 80-game suspension.

Canó is a two-time Gold Glove winner at second, but at 35 years old he understandably has lost a step. As for his replacement at the spot, Dee Gordon, well … he has this kind of range.

“That’s gonna be one of the fascinating parts for this team to reckon with once Canó comes back,” Morosi said. “There’s gonna be a couple balls a game – or at least one – that is going to roll through the infield that everybody’s going to say ‘Well, Dee would have had that ball.’”

Gordon started the year as Seattle’s center fielder, but he was brand new to the outfield and is a Gold Glove winner at second himself. Canó, meanwhile, won’t be eligible for the postseason, and general manager Jerry Dipoto has already said he won’t be the full-time second baseman upon his return.

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The lack of range Canó has compared to Gordon is why Morosi expects Canó to actually see time at one position he’s never played before (but has long been rumored to be destined to end up at).

“I think we’re going to see a fair amount of Robbie playing first base or maybe even DH’ing at times if Nelson (Cruz) gets involved in the outfield,” Morosi said.

Morosi was part of the broadcast crew of the Mariners’ 1-0 win behind Wade LeBlanc over the Red Sox on June 16, and he’s still raving about Gordon’s performance that day.

“Dee Gordon’s defense in that game was amazing. He made three amazing plays up the middle in that one game alone that, candidly, Robbie probably does not get to,” he said. “Dee Gordon’s energy is so important to this team that having that heart-and-soul player in the middle of the diamond has a really hard-to-quantify impact – but it’s there.

“Dee is a great force, his personality, his energy. Whatever games they have Robbie play there – and listen, Canó’s a great player still – to have him play there, it’s going take some of that away. It’s going to be a really interesting dynamic to watch unfold.”

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