Dee Gordon has ‘been like a big brother’ to new Mariners prospect Shed Long
When Dee Gordon found he was heading to Seattle in a trade last offseason, one of the first people he talked to was somebody he was close to that wore a Mariners uniform before him: Ken Griffey Jr. In fact, a call from “Mr. Griffey,” as Gordon referred to him, interrupted Gordon’s first interview with 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny, Dave and Moore shortly after his trade from Miami to Seattle.
This week Gordon found himself in the same situation, only in the opposite role.
The Mariners acquired second base prospect Shed Long in a three-team trade with the Yankees and Reds, and it turns out Gordon was the perfect person to welcome the 23-year-old Long to his new team, as the two players have been close for quite some time.
“We met probably like five years ago,” Long said of Gordon in an interview with Danny, Dave and Moore on Wednesday, “and since the first time we met he’s been like a big brother to me. You know, we’re close. We talk a lot, and we’ve talked even more since this has happened. I’m actually down in Orlando right now training with him.”
Being in Florida with Gordon made it pretty easy for Long to get an idea of what to expect with the organization he’s joining.
“Nothing but good things,” Long responded when asked what Gordon had told him about the Mariners. “He’s told me it’s a great fan base, the atmosphere at the game’s always great, the city is beautiful – and I mean, I’ve heard that from multiple people. He’s told me it’s a great organization to play in. I’m just excited to be a part of it.”
Just like Gordon prior to last season, the Mariners traded for Long with the idea of having him learn a new position. Gordon came to Seattle as a second baseman, but he learned center field in spring training, moved back to second base when Robinson Canó was suspended for 80 games, and even played a little shortstop late in the season. The Mariners are hoping Long, who was drafted by the Reds as a catcher in 2012 but has been almost exclusively a second baseman as a pro, can prove to have a similar versatility on defense. General manager Jerry Dipoto told Danny, Dave and Moore on Monday that while Long, who is expected to start the season at Triple-A Tacoma, will keep second base as his primary spot, the Mariners will see if can “move around the field” and play some other positions like third base and the outfield.
Wherever he plays, Long is happy with where he has landed – which is not exactly where he thought he was headed at the beginning of the week when all signs pointed to him going to the Yankees. The Mariners have had their eye on Long for a while, though, and Dipoto found a way to get him when the Reds put the wheels in motion to get pitcher Sonny Gray from New York.
“Before, all of the talks were me being traded to New York. I never heard about Seattle, and so I got traded to New York and then New York traded me to Seattle 40 minutes later,” said Long, who doesn’t seem disappointed in the least that he landed in the Emerald City instead of the Big Apple.
“Oh man, I’m happy. I think it’s a great opportunity and a great organization that I’m joining.”
Download the full interview with Long at this link or listen to it in the player embedded in this post.