Paul Sancya/Associated Press
The Dodgers signed Cuban defector Alexander Guerrero over the winter in the hopes that the natural shortstop could step in as the everyday second baseman after the departure of veteran Mark Ellis.
Injuries during winter ball derailed Guerrero's development at the position, and he has been far from impressive five games into spring training.
According to ESPN's Jim Bowden, Los Angeles believes Guerrero needs more time to develop in the minors, and Dee Gordon has emerged as a front-runner to open the season as the starting second baseman.
In 13 at-bats so far this spring, Guerrero has four singles and three strikeouts. This past Saturday in a split-squad game against the Milwaukee Brewers, Guerrero made some blunders that suggest he isn't quite ready. After Gordon reached base on a bunt single, Guerrero did not let him try to steal and instead flew out on the first pitch. Gordon stole second on the next pitch, already his third swipe of the spring. Later, representing the tying run in the ninth inning, Guerrero was picked off at first base.
Still, it's difficult to fully get behind the idea of Gordon as the starter at second base when he compiled a weak .234/.314/.298 slash last season. He has put on 13 pounds of bulk since last season, which is significant considering he only weighed 162 pounds in 2013. The Dodgers value Gordon for his speed, but his inability to reach base in the first place has hindered him throughout his career.
Despite his struggles at the plate, Gordon has remained confident in his abilities.
"If they let me play, they'll have a good second baseman and a great hitter at the bottom of the order to set the table at the top," Gordon told MLB.com's Ken Gurnick.
The sample size is small, but Gordon is playing well. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking for Guerrero to make a name for himself before the 25-man roster is due a 1 p.m. PT on March 21.
All stats courtesy of Baseball Reference unless otherwise noted.